Clovis to Expand Sphere of Influence North of Shepherd

(Ron Camacho/Clovis Roundup)

The Clovis City Council approved a request from Leo Wilson Homes to begin the process of expanding the city’s sphere of influence to 75 acres northeast of Shepherd and Sunnyside Avenues.

The sphere of influence refers to a planning boundary outside of an agency’s legal boundaries, such as a city limit, that designates the agency’s probable future boundary and service.

Leo Wilson originally requested urbanization of the area in June 2016 and submitted a request for staff direction in June 2018. The City Council directed its staff to proceed with discussions with Fresno County and the Fresno Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) regarding the land in September of 2018.

Leo Wilson has not officially announced what he will do with the 75 acres if the city were to eventually approve a development, but it is expected that the land would be used for a housing development.

The 75 acres of land forms an L shape around 18 rural homes homes on Perrin Road and Sunnyside, Lexingston and Purdue Avenues.

Residents from some of the 18 houses and the surrounding area attended the March 2 meeting to voice their opposition to the approval. Many of the residents expressed concern over increased traffic on Sunnyside Avenue and what a potential new housing development could do to their ground water.

After almost an hour of deliberating, the City Council came to the conclusion that the city would not possess all it needed to know about the area until it conducted a series of traffic and infrastructure studies. In order to conduct the studies, the city needed to approve the request to direct its staff to proceed to prepare an application with Fresno LAFCo to expand its sphere of influence.

Leo Wilson agreed to incur the costs of those studies if his application was approved.

The Council ultimately passed Councilmember Bob Whalen’s motion to approve the request, in addition to expanding the sphere of influence to include the area encompassing the 18 homes to gather further information.

It is worth noting that this does not mean that the city approved an application for a Wilson Homes development or approved an annexation or zoning of the area. It will still take at least two years for the city to complete the process of extending its sphere of influence to the area, according to city senior planner Ricky Caperton.   

Annaliza Gagnebin has lived in one of the 18 homes affected by the approval for five years. She said she attended the meeting to voice her concerns regarding traffic and water.

She said cars have hit the fence outside her home several times.

“We’ve already been crashed into and we’ve had to do the repairs,” she said.

But despite originally turning out to the meeting to oppose the approval, Gagnebin said she was happy with the Council’s final decision.

“After I heard all the valid points, I think they should,” Gagnebin said. “The wheel needs to move into motion.”

Ron Camacho was born and raised in Clovis. He attended Clovis High School and graduated from CSU Fresno in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Before joining the Roundup, Ron wrote for Pollstar Magazine and the Sanger Herald. He has a deep appreciation for the arts and is a lover of music, cinema and storytelling. When he’s not busy looking for his next story, Ron enjoys taking weekend expeditions to the beach or mountains to practice landscape photography.