Fresno Considers Ambitious Downtown Project. Neighbor Not So Sure.
Developer Terance Frazier’s long-envisioned downtown Fresno entertainment and housing venture will be presented to the city’s planning commission for approval Wednesday (Sept. 18).
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The property is located on the east side of H Street, between Inyo and Mono streets, across the street from Chukchansi Park.
The project has at least one opponent. Clark Bros. sent the city a letter, concerned with parking, trash, and allegations of illegal drug use among other complaints. In the official protest letter, Clark Bros., a contracting company with a nearby location, attached pictures taken at the Frazier-organized Alley Wave event, held earlier this year in buildings he owns adjacent to the proposed location.
The company’s president, Lawrence Clark, alleges the photos show illegal marijuana use and underage drinking.
Clark wrote that the company wants downtown to thrive, but wants it “done right.”
“The right way is not to encourage more crime and trash in our neighborhoods, but to bring in industry and businesses that can improve upon the landscape, not take away from it with more bad press and additional crime,” Clark wrote.
City staff recommends approval.
Frazier defended his project in a text to Politics 101, saying his investment is on top of tens of millions in public money.
“The arts and culture community has made downtown Art Hop and Brewing District a great success that brings thousands of visitors downtown. Community developers like myself have invested millions more in fixing old buildings to bring the City’s general plan and downtown specific plan to fruition. My projects adheres to that vision and the future a revitalized downtown that we all want,” Frazier wrote.
Details Still Being Smoked Out for Fresno Cannabis Regulation
Cannabis businesses are coming to Fresno. A finalized ordinance is coming soon. Maybe.
In chicken and egg rhetoric, both the mayor’s office and the city council are waiting on the other to move forward.
The council approved the framework to allow recreational and medicinal cannabis sales in the city. But, the framework for permitting and licensing is still be worked out.
Related Story: Medical and Recreational Cannabis Finally Get the OK in FresnoThe ordinance was supposed to be on this week’s council agenda, but never made it there to allow more examination of the issue. It could be ready for vote by the Sept. 26 meeting.
Councilman Miguel Arias along with Paul Caprioglio and Esmeralda Soria form the council’s cannabis committee. Arias says the city needs to complete its environmental impact report, which could be done by the end of the year. They are also waiting for the city to hire staff to handle applications.
The mayor’s office says they are awaiting amendments from the council on how to proceed with the application process. Arias says such things as notifying neighborhoods in the vicinity of potential cannabis businesses, identifying employees who need work permits, and a social equity component are among the things that need to be worked out.
Meanwhile in nearby Hanford, the city council is set to award a retail and medicinal permit to San Jose based cannabis company Caliva. Legendary rapper Jay-Z recently entered a partnership with Caliva to become the company’s chief brand strategist.
Other celebrities are backing the firm as well. A venture capital fund run by NFL football great Joe Montana invested $75 million in Caliva earlier this year.
The company was founded in 2015 and currently employs 600 people. In addition to selling cannabis and related products, Caliva also cultivates marijuana.
County Approves $3 Billion Budget
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors just needed a few hours before approving a $3.67 billion budget, an 11% increase over last year.
Among the highlights, according to the presentation made by administrative officer Jean Rousseau: $20 million for capital projects — including $3 million for a permanent animal control facility and $4.5 million for a sheriff substation; $10 million to lease (and later purchase) the Rowell Building in downtown Fresno as the new headquarters for the District Attorney’s office; and up to $20 million in SB 1 state gas tax funds for roads.
The budget will also support 8,053 workers, a 158 bump over last year. That includes bolstering the public defender’s office.