Helena move will help Lemoore — and hurt Hanford

Helena Agri-Enterprises is moving to Lemoore after a long-simmering dispute with the City of Hanford that resulted in the company filing a lawsuit against Hanford.

Lemoore City Manager Nathan Olson said the move could result in about $340,000 in additional annual sale tax revenue to the city plus an unspecified number of jobs.

Olson said he wouldn’t disclose the company’s location in Lemoore until the land deal is final. The deal is subject to the approval of the new city council and needed environmental reviews, he said.

The company, which batches and sells fertilizer products, plans on building a new facility in Lemoore, Olson said. The move, first announced by the city in early December 2020, will result in Lemoore gaining one of its largest retail companies.

Olson wouldn’t comment on what Hanford’s problems with Helena had to do with the relocation. Helena returned one phone call seeking comment but did not return later ones. Also Helena’s attorney Mark Everett McKeen did not respond to a request for comment.

On April 14, 2017 Helena filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Hanford seeking $12 million in damages. The company claimed the City of Hanford reneged on a land deal that would have resulted in Helena relocating from East Lacey Boulevard by Costco to Hanford’s industrial park, according to court records. The city responded in a court filing denying Helena’s allegations and said no money is owed.

Earl in 2015 Helena and Hanford reached a definitive agreement on the relocation, but in July 2015 the city council told Helena it would not execute their agreement.

In late 2014, Costco Center developer John Kashian ordered all work stopped on the project until the city denied Helena’s request to expand agricultural operations at the East Lacey site which was across the street from the Costco Center. Helena has occupied the East Lacey site since 1972.

According to the suit, Helena has steadily grown from $15 million annually in 2004 to $30 million and employs hundreds in the Central Valley,

Before the city worked out an agreement to move Helena, the city had approved a conditional
use permit allowing Helena to expand at East Lacey. It also changed the zoning rules to allow Helena to continue operations at the site despite the company’s operations being considered incompatible with surrounding uses.

A jury trial in Kings Superior Court on Helena’s breach of contract lawsuit will be held in Hanford starting June 7, 2021, according to court documents.

Helena’s move represents a financial boon to Lemoore and a blow to Hanford. Lemoore has a multi-million budget deficit and recently saw a ballot measure to raise the sales tax defeated. Hanford had a $1.1 million budget deficit last year but eliminated the deficit by not making a payment to its equipment reserve fund.

Lemoore has switched its economic strategy from being a bedroom community to pursuing growth, said Olson. Hanford has long pursued a pro-growth strategy involving retail, industrial and housing elements.

9 thoughts on “Helena move will help Lemoore — and hurt Hanford

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    • It’s not biggest tax generator. Not even close. Costco generates way more taxes and brought in way more businesses and fought traffic. Don’t sue the city you want to reside in!

  1. Lemoore has nothing! That’s why all the big industrial businesses move there. They have no Costco, no Walmart or Target lmao. That’s why nobody is moving there and they have lots of room. Hanford is booming with house growth all over. Hanford doesn’t cater to environmental unfriendly businesses and companies that sue the city.

    • Hanford doesn’t cater to environmental unfriendly businesses and companies that sue the city? Costco is environmentally friendly? That is hilarious! Pretty confident that there is a far larger carbon footprint from Costco than a Chemical/Fertilizer manufacturer supporting growers who are actually performing carbon sequestratering within there crops. Costco is a contributor, while Agricultural fields can act as a carbon sink through sequestering – binding – greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide. I would prefer the ladder Troy, plus your water still stinks. Congrats Lemoore, Helena will be far better off where they are wanted.

      • You mean the cash crops that take loads of water. The crops grown to produce food for cows that produce tons of methane that can’t be removed from soil or water. It’s not just about CARBON EMISSIONS. ITS ABOUT ALL POLLUTANTS AND METHANE IS WAY MORE HARMFUL THAN CARBON. You don’t know about environmental friendly. Costco is place people can go one place to buy everything instead of driving multiple locations. Keep dreaming that CARBON is the only greenhouse gas. Pretty sure isn’t confident. You have no idea the energy the fertilizer company uses. And farming requires tons of trucks on the road to grow cash crops which are even nutritious like pistachios and pomegranates. To feed over populated cows that produce loads of METHANE. Farming is why aquafers are so low.

        • That is right Troy, I forgot….in your world, asphalt and houses are good for the environment, while farming is destroying it, but your car, your waste, your beloved Costco is a necessity in that privileged life. Next time you eat, you may want to stop, actually think, and then thank a farmer, because they are feeding you. I may not be an physicist, but I am pretty damn sure I can live without a Costco, and more importantly, I am even more certain I cannot live without a farmer. But hey, enjoy that mantra…hopefully you practice what your preach!

          • I don’t eat cash crops like ALMONDS, PISTACHIOS AND POMEGRANATES. COSTCO SELLS THE FOOD NEEDED TO EAT. I EVEN BUY GROUND TURKEY AND DONT EAT STEAK BECAUSE COWS PRODUCE SO MUCH METHANE

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