Clovis agrees to lower developer fees

FRESNO, Calif.

In two years they'll know if Monday night's agreement to back off on some builder's fees pays off in hard times.

Just a few minutes north of downtown Clovis is the Harlan Ranch development. For the past five years it's grown as several builders added homes here.

But as the recession deepened, developers asked the city staff consider a 2-year relief from certain development fees the industry paid on each house built that provided for city services like streets, power connections and more.

"We're hoping this will spur development not just for us but all sorts of other developers. The fee reduction also went into effect for commercial, retail and industrial as well. So not just building houses it's also creating jobs for Clovis," Joshua Peterson of Wathen Castanos Homes said.

The council met on Monday night and after some tweaking to the original plan voted 4-to 1-to reduce certain developer fees.

"It's a risky move, a bold move, so either way we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. If there's no development there's no money. If we don't incentivize by reducing fees there's no money, so what do you do?" Clovis Mayor Jose Flores said.

Flores says he's looking for an upturn in the economy and banking on the notion that new homes will draw new families and keep the city and the builders moving forward in hard times.

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