Clovis settles lawsuit over affordable housing plan

The city was under fire for not meeting California’s RHNA requirements for affordable housing.

Clovis has settled a lawsuit with local homeless advocate Dez Martinez over the city’s affordable housing plan. 

The settlement will see Clovis built over 3,000 affordable housing units and establish a Local Housing Trust Fund. 


The backstory: Martinez, who is a frequent speaker at Fresno City Council meetings and lives in Clovis, filed a lawsuit against Clovis in 2019 over the city’s housing plan for the 2015-2023 period. 

  • Martinez alleged that the plan did not meet California’s housing requirements under the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) program. 
  • RHNA, which dates back to 1969, requires local governments to build a certain amount of new homes and includes metrics on affordability to meet the community’s housing needs. 
  • A Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled in 2021 that Clovis was not providing enough affordable housing and multi-family housing under RHNA. That was upheld by a state appellate court last year, which compelled Clovis to meet RHNA standards. 

The big picture: Along with establishing a Local Housing Trust Fund, the city has committed to contributing at least $1.8 million to support affordable housing developments, per the settlement. 

  • Clovis will dedicate city-owned sites to the development of affordable housing and will rezone small infill parcels throughout the city to accommodate around 1,300 multi-family dwelling units. 
  • The Clovis City Council will also pass an ordinance to require up to 10 percent of units in mid to large scale new housing development projects be affordable to low-income families. 
  • The city will also create a development impact fee deferral program, which will defer the payment of significant portions of city development impact fees for qualifying affordable housing projects. 
  • Clovis expects the settlement to be approved in court in the coming weeks. 

What they’re saying: “This legal case has transcended beyond my personal circumstances; it now represents the struggle of every individual combatting the high cost of living and striving to survive,” Martinez said. “Today, this lawsuit symbolizes the fight for a more inclusive community that embraces people from all backgrounds. For me, this legal battle marks just the beginning as I have more tasks ahead. However, it has also created a significant opportunity for many others to follow suit.” 

  • Clovis Mayor Lynne Ashbeck added, “In partnership with Ms. Martinez and her lawyers, we are pleased to announce we have reached a settlement that includes a comprehensive plan to provide affordable housing options for all who want to call Clovis home. Clovis, and its residents, are committed to address the housing crisis with solutions that will provide housing opportunities in the near and long-term future for our future neighbors.”
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