SELMA – Plans to build a mini-storage on the northeast corner of McCall and East Dinuba avenues came to halt after neighbors, nearby business owners and even City Council members questioned whether increasing traffic for the area was a good idea. At the very least, the objecting citizens said the streets should be widened, a stoplight installed and street dividers repositioned.
The decision to continue the hearing and bring the Stormax Mini Storage back to developers was made at the Feb. 5 Selma City Council meeting.
Hanford’s Emery Vklotho is one of the developers for the mini-storage project that’s proposed at 9885 S. McCall Ave. It sits on 6.35 acres and would be developed in phases. First would be the 124,021 square-foot mini storage and caretaker’s unit. The second phase would see an additional 83,332 square feet of commercial retail space built.
City Councilman Scott Robertson said although they’re eager to see the town grow in that area, he’d rather see the needed street improvements built into this project.
“We all want that sewer line to be developed because we all want development there but we do need a four-way stop sign at that dangerous intersection,” he said.
City Councilman Louis Franco thought the storage business would work, if the streets were improved.
“This plan shows a slight [street] widening. If we approve this, can we say we’re OK with the mini-storage but redo the streets as far as the turn lanes?”
Selma Plaza’s new owners had several objections, including the aesthetics and placement of the street dividers they say would impede traffic flow for their large parking lot area as well as for the senior mobile park on Dinuba Avenue.
“I’m looking at the roads pattern they want to do,” said Gary Rodgers, one of the Selma Plaza owners. “They’re proposing putting in a divider but first they’ll have to widen that street. It’s a small street and it has too many cars on it now.”
Rodgers also objected to the plain walls commuters would see for the storage facility’s designs.
“It’s just bad planning. It’s just a bunch of boxes with a fence in front of it.”
Gladys Griffith, a Dinuba Avenue resident, said she’s concerned that the already congested intersection will get even more hectic, especially at peak rush hours.
“If they’re going to develop commercially there, are we finally going to get a stoplight? We can’t just have all this traffic bottled up trying to get to store fronts when they can’t even get through the intersection. I’ve lived there 40 years and I’ve watched the traffic grow until it’s a mess. I can’t even get in my driveway unless a nice person stops and lets me in.”
Perea said he’ll take the suggestions back to the developers and the project will come back to council at its March 5 meeting.
The Council did approve moving forward on the reconstruction of Floral Avenue and heard a brief report from Interim City Manager Henry Perea about progress on a large Amberwood housing development.
The Council also hired Vanir Construction to manage the new police station, approved a pavement program and heard updates on the Art Center façade, Rockwell Pond Park land acquisition, fire station renovation, police department recruitments and was introduced to the new Beautification Committee members.
In other matters, the council also:
- Got the Floral Avenue reconstruction back on track by approving that the project goes out to bid. Work on the busy road started back in July but was halted to change construction hours. Then-City Manager Dave Elias preferred the work be done at night to avoid interfering with businesses. Interim City Manager Henry Perea showed a timeline at the meeting where Council would hire a road construction company in early March and work should start in mid-April. The goal is to be finished by early September.
- Heard from Perea about the proposed Amberwood project. “They’re committing you’ll be turning dirt on projects this year on Amberwood,” he said. “Everything’s moving and the developers are doing all the things they need to move the project forward. They’re already working with two developers who’ll build the first two phases of the project.” Draft plans show Amberwood includes 12 different residential lot types and would be constructed over 25 years. The project includes three acres for a new public safety facility for both police and fire, a 7.5 acre community commercial shopping center, 70 acres for a park area, an additional linear 41-acre park and a four-lane major arterial road that incorporates bicycle and pedestrian paths. No apartments or attached condominium units will be included. Selected neighborhoods will be private gated communities.
- Entered into an agreement with Fresno Council of Governments to maintain streets through a Regional Pavement Management System. The City may apply for state-level grants and is required to have a pavement program in place in order to be eligible. Cities in the FCOG include Coalinga, Fowler, Firebaugh, Huron, Kingsburg, Mendota, Orange Cove, San Joaquin and Selma.
- FCOG has reserved $326,014 in SB1 planning grant funds to help members offset the cost of setting up such a system that includes pavement management plans in each city. Cities will need to maintain whatever pavement plan is put in place, once it’s set up. FCOG will hire a consultant to do a pavement condition assessment.
- Approved a contract with Vanir Construction Management as construction project managers of the new police station. The City is finalizing plans for the building’s final engineering, design and timelines. Vanir area manager Jerry Avalos said that their firm will monitor and track the project to manage project costs, timing, change orders and safety while making regular progress reports to the City. The police station will be built at 2055 Third St.
- Heard a report from Recreation Director Mikal Kirchner about the need to deal with weather damage on the Selma Arts Center’s façade. An earlier plan called for repainting and caulking the exterior, however no funds were available at the time, Kirchner said. The expansion joints were caulked and now he’s seeking quotes to have the building repainted. A leak in the roof has also been repaired.
- Kirchner also reported negotiations are underway with Fresno County to acquire 12 more acres for a future park planned at Rockwell Pond. The City will also ask the County to put 18 more acres in a first right of refusal option. City staff is also looking into grants to develop trails, green space and a water feature in the ponding basin at the park.
- Heard an update from Fire Chief Mike Kain on the reconstruction of Fire Station 2 at 2861 A St. He’ll bring back more details on the financial plan that’s being hammered out at the Feb. 20 meeting. The design team is also meeting on a weekly basis on the interior needs, he said.
- Heard from Police Chief Greg Garner on his latest recruitment efforts to fill vacancies. There are four openings for sworn officers and two offers of employment have been made. Two more will be made before the end of the month. One of the two dispatcher positions was filled and two applicants are in the background phase of hiring to fill that remaining vacancy.
- The new Beautification Committee members were introduced by Bob Allen. They include Hugh Adams, Jennifer Earle, Pete Esraelian, Andrea Fairbanks, Virginia Lees, Colleen Nelson, Leslie Nelson, Craig Ruch and Char Tucker. “I’m excited. This is a group of doers,” Allen said.
- Amended a consultant agreement with Interim City Manager Henry Perea as he is not subject to the Public Employment Retirement System. He is hired as an independent contractor to not only fulfill city management duties but also for his recruitment efforts to find a permanent replacement.