City Council Vote on General Plan Report, Regional Housing Needs

The Clovis City Council discussed the 2020 General Plan Report and the Regional Housing Needs (RHN) Overlay District Map. (File Photo)

On Monday, Mar. 15’s City Council Meeting, decisions on housing in Clovis were also handed down, including the 2020 General Plan Annual Report and the annual update and review of the Regional Housing Needs (RHN) Overlay District Map.

The council accepted an unanimous vote and authorized the annual report’s submission, including the Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR).

The report will now be sent to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review.

In total, the city has 20 housing element programs.

Last year, the city applied for a $5 million CalHome grant through HCD. If funded, the city will use the grant for mobile home replacement, owner-occupied rehabilitation loan and acquisition rehab resale loan for low-income home programs.

The city has yet to hear an announcement.

Additionally, the city provided subsidies to multiple projects in the past year.

In the Stanford Addition neighborhood, the city purchased, demolished and subdivided a property granted to Habitat for Humanity. Two single-family homes were constructed and are to be bought by low-income veteran households.

Clovis was granted $1 million for its first-time homebuyer program from HCD and will begin taking applications from buyers soon.

The city also granted the affordable housing development program with impact fee reductions for $1 million for a 60 unit affordable housing complex.

And before COVID restrictions, the city provided home repair grants to 34 low-income households to correct health and safety-related deficiencies.

The general plan includes four approved amendment applications.

The Bonadelle Homes was provided an amendment to increase residential density.

Another amendment was to the Environmental Safety Element by incorporating airport land use compatibility criteria.

The final two amendments were to the Shaw Avenue Specific Plan dealing with drive-thru access. One was a project-specific application for Raising Cane’s, and the other was more of a general policy.

New issues and topics could be added to future APRs. Topics anticipated for the 2021 APR included a summary of annexations, the sphere of influence expansions and urban center master planning projects.

Also approved was the annual review and update to the RHN Overlay District Map.

The HCD requires that every city and county have an update and reporting cycle. These cycles last for eight years, and Clovis latest adopted cycles began in 2016.

HCD states that a city must have a sufficient land inventory to accommodate the housing needs in a particular cycle. This inventory must be available to low, moderate and above moderate-income housing opportunities.

Clovis’ fifth cycle analysis showed that some of the city’s fourth Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) was outstanding in the high-density category. Because of this, HCD required Clovis to designate land inventory to accommodate 4,425 units at 20 units per acre.

The RHN Overlay District was established in 2018 to accommodate a carry-over burden.

A total of 32 eligible sites were identified at the program’s initiation, but two of those sites, accounting for 224 units, were removed from the program. The removal left 30 sites with an inventory of 4,037 units and a surplus of 948 units.

In a 3-0 decision, the council vote approved removing an additional five original sites that account for 717 units. The removal of these sites is because they were developed with other projects that are not RHN Overlay eligible or qualifying projects.

Although the resolution would cost the city a considerable amount of units, included in the resolution was an additional six sites, totaling 1,155 units.

A cluster of four of the six sites is located in the southern part of the city. An area north of Shaw Avenue is the fifth location, and the final site is nearby Herndon and Peach Avenues.

The city’s surplus now sits at 400 units.

Councilmember Lynne Ashbeck recused herself from the vote due to proximity to a site being added to the RHN Overlay District. Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua recused himself from the vote due to proximity to a site being removed from the district.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.