Tulare County supervisors unanimously support Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has unanimously supported the Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center, a project proposed for the southeast corner of Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99.

On a motion from Supervisor Amy Shuklian, and a second by Supervisor Pete Vander Poel, the board voted in favor of the project, which has been in the research and analysis stage for seven years.

“This project has been well thought out and well planned,” Supervisor Vander Poel said prior to the vote. “The Planning Commission voted unanimously in support and this project will bring much-needed services and jobs and the diversification of our economy.”

Supervisor Kuyler Crocker noted that the change of use from agriculture to highway commercial will result in “tremendous water savings,” which is particularly important
given the mandates of the Groundwater Sustainability Act. He added that these water savings will allow other farms to continue operating rather than fallowing the land.

Air quality was a topic of the presentation by County staff and project proponents. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is “fully satisfied” with the analysis of potential impacts, noted RMA assistant director Aaron Bock, and Bert Verrips, the project’s environmental consultant. Chairman Steve Worthley added that project proponents have gone beyond the Air District’s requirements with enhancements that result in “less than significant levels” of impact.

The Environmental Impact Report process involved review by a variety of organizations, including the County of Tulare, the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the Tulare County Planning Commission.

The Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center, proposed by Sequoia Gateway LLC partners Fred Ruiz and Bill Travis, is a commercial/mixed use project proposed for the southeast corner of Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99.

It would be built in phases over the next eight to 10 years, explained consultant Stephen Peck, and will include a Valley Children’s Medical Group Specialty Care Center. The pediatric Specialty Care Center clinic and highway commercial uses would be built first, with hotels, restaurants, retail stores and a visitors’ center in future phases.

Plans call for signals at the northbound and southbound highway ramps and other circulation improvements valued at $10.5 million, Peck added.

For information on Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center, contact Stephen Peck, [email protected]; 731-5778.

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