As expected, the revised tax bill (HR 1) passed the House of Representatives Tuesday (Dec. 19). It now goes to the Senate for final approval.

The Valley delegation voted along party lines:

Yes: Devin Nunes (R-Clovis/Visalia), David Valadao (R-Hanford), Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield/Porterville), Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), Tom McClintock (R-Mariposa)

No: Jim Costa (D-Fresno).

Nunes delivered a speech on the floor on his support.

McClintock initially voted no when the House passed the tax bill in November. During his speech on the floor, hecklers interrupted, leading to an awkward minute of silence. The microphones on the C-SPAN broadcast went silent during the protest.

Developer Revises Sky Park Project

The Fresno Planning Commission holds its final meeting of the year Wednesday (Dec. 20). Among the items they will hear:

A proposed commercial and residential development near the Sierra Sky Park by Herndon and Blythe avenues will be scaled back to just commercial after neighbor complaints. Ginder Development proposed the seven-acre project initially last month, but the commission held the item over to allow Ginder to work out a deal with the residents.

According to a letter submitted by a lawyer represent homeowners near the sky park, they worried more homes in the area would threaten the use of the airport. “Airports across the state have recently been forced to close because of encroachment by residential users who oftentimes complain about the existence of the airport land use,” wrote John Kinsey on behalf of the Sierra Sky Park Property Owners Association.

Other residents also expressed concern about building more homes in the area. Richard Ginder Jr., president of Ginder Development, then informed the city he is scrapping the residential portion, which was to be an apartment complex.

Ginder told GV Wire that he envisions a fast-food restaurant, tire store and, eventually, a hotel on the property.

Beal Battles City Hall Again

George Beal has fought City Hall and won for the right to sell alcohol at his various Johnny Quik convenience stores. So far this year, he’s applied for new applications at locations at Shaw and Hayes avenues and Jensen Avenue at Highway 99.

Each time, the city objected for various reasons. Eventually, Beal won in the end with approval from the Planning Commission at the Shaw location, and through an appeal to the council on the Jensen store.

Now, it’s happening again. Beal wants to open another Johnny Quik at Belmont and Van Ness avenues. And, just like his previous requests, the city is OK with the project itself, just not the request to sell beer and wine.

The reasoning is similar to the other initial denials: There are already enough liquor stores in the area, the neighborhood is considered “high crime,” and, in this case, the location would be 300 feet away from an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

However, the police department did not lodge an objection; the Fresno Unified school district has, which is their custom. State law prevents liquor stores opening within 500 feet of a school. Beal’s location would be at least a half-mile away from any school.

The project elicited 10 letters to the commission, running 9-1 against, mostly on alcohol concerns.

Industrial Expansion Proposed

The commission will also hear a plan to develop seven industrial buildings spanning 2.1 million square feet  at Central and Cedar avenues in south Fresno. The developer is Richard Caglia of Caglia Environmental. He is also a trustee with the State Center Community College District.

City documents have not identified who the tenant could be. The proposed industrial project will be near other projects under construction: distribution facilities for Amazon and Ulta Beauty.

Not everyone is happy with the project. A coalition of neighborhood and environmental advocates, led by Ashley Werner of the Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, sent a letter of appeal to city planning staff.

Staff is asking the commission to approve the project and send it on to the Fresno City Council.


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