City Council Passes Ordinance for Regional Housing Needs

City council voted to pass an ordinance that addresses the Regional Housing Needs (RHN) on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Jorge Rodriguez/Clovis Roundup)

Clovis city council was introduced an ordinance on Monday’s October 19 meeting regarding regional housing.

The ordinance aims to amend the Clovis Municipal Code to subdivide parcels for the Regional Housing Needs (RHN). In the past, the city had not met their RHN and in 2018 there was an overlay that now has to be met.

Residential properties of 1-10 acres in size will be allowed to develop multi-family housing at 35 to 43 units per acre. This applies to all residential zones within the city of Clovis and all parcels that meet the qualifications are eligible to be developed.

The ordinance will amend the municipal code to clarify and refine the existing ordinance in order to subdivide parcels that qualify for development.

Councilmember Bob Whalen said that in the past the city took on more than they should have and that now the city is paying with lawsuits brought on because of those decisions.

“We’ve owned up to our responsibilities and we are willing to accept them and do what we can in order to meet the requirements that the state of California and the city of Clovis have arranged,” Whalen said.

Several council members voice their concern with the RHN because it does not give a voice to those in the community who might be impacted by the building of those housing units.

Councilmember Ashbeck said that the citizen engagement in the project seems like a train wreck, because the community gets a saying only once a year.

“This will cause people to come in here screaming saying ‘no one told us’ and they are right,” Ashbeck said. “How do we plan to educate those folks that this is now possible on a parcel near to them.”

City Planner Dave Merchen, said that there will be outreach, but that it will be difficult to do more because the RHN permits multi-family housing units without public hearing or public comments.

“This does not mean that we have to stop looking for a way to reach out to the community and to provide notice and let neighborhoods know what’s coming.” Merchen said.

Councilmember Mouanoutoua said that one solution for this RHN was to plan for the future and make sure people know about it.

“If we plan ahead we can put all these (developments) into properties that everyone knows what’s going to come,” Mouanoutoua said. “If we plan ahead and expand the sphere, expand where we are going to plan to annex more land, then we are ready.”

The council voted to pass the ordinance unanimously.

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez has a passion for journalism and wants to bring the community information and great stories. After high school Jorge joined the U.S. Army and while in active duty he was deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in college he worked for the Fresno City College Rampage and the Fresno State Collegian newspapers. He graduated from Fresno State in 2019 with a degree in print journalism.