Historic Smittcamp Residence is the site of soon-to-be Church

The Clovis Planning Commission approved plans for the a new church to be built on the historic Smittcamp residence on Minnewawa and Nees Avenues. (CR Photo)

Once the Smittcamp family residence, it will now be the future site of a 23-acre church after the Clovis Planning Commission’s approval at the Thursday, March 25 meeting.

The commission rezoned the former peach orchard located along Nees Avenue — between Clovis and Minnewawa Avenues — to become the Clovis campus for “The Well Community Church.”

Detailed plans for ‘The Well Community Church’ Clovis campus presented at the Clovis Planning Commission on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Courtesy Clovis Planning Commission)

“We have put our plans together…We’re just delighted to see that really this could be a feature for the city of Clovis,” Pastor Brad Bell said. “ We think we would make the city very proud.”

Bell, who founded his church in 2002, says that the size of the Fresno campus’ congregation is around 750 attendees during in-door services.

Once built, the church plans to hold multiple services on Sundays and Mondays, as well as Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Beyond services, the site’s plans include recreational fields and facilities that will house events like weddings, funeral services and special events.

One point of concern for members of the commission was the property’s plan was an exit on the Minnewawa Avenue side of the church, which could be a safety hazard due to a high volume of traffic.

“My concern obviously is the left turn lane, and Minnewawa is a heavy travel thoroughfare,” said Chair Pro Tem Mike Cunningham. “Unfortunately around Buchanan [High School], even on Sundays, it tends to be rapidly traveled.”

Although there was concern about the southbound traffic down Minnewawa Avenue, John Rowland of Peters Engineering Group assured the commission of adjustments to exiting strategies that can be made to appease concerns.

Bill Smittcamp of the Smittcamp family was also in attendance as a show of support for the project.

“There’s nothing better for this site than what’s going on,” Smittcamp said. “My late brother, and my two sisters, and our families are all in full support.”

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.