Planned Parenthood facing opposition to new Mooney location

Planned Parenthood is hoping to move into this building on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. Plans were approved by the Visalia Planning Commission, but will be subject to a public appeal hearing at the Visalia City Council’s meeting on February 7.

Planned Parenthood’s hopes for a medical office on Mooney Boulevard will be the subject of a public hearing at the Visalia City Council meeting on February 7 at 7pm.

Although the city’s planning commission voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit for the location at 3221 S. Mooney – next to Aspen Dental – developer David Paynter of Paynter Realty and Investments has filed an appeal, citing concerns over parking space availability.

He is the owner of properties surrounding the potential office, including buildings housing Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshall’s and the Sequoia Mall.

The hearing was originally scheduled for January 18, but Paynter requested it be rescheduled to the 7th as some members would be absent on the 18th.


The location

The Visalia Planning Commission voted to approve the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a medical office at 3221 S. Mooney on December 13, 2021. The site plan was submitted by associate Matt Nohr of the Orosco Group; the Orosco Group owns the building.

The Mooney building is split into three equal suites: A, which is currently occupied by Aspen Dental; and suites B and C. Planned Parenthood would occupy the other two suites if the planning commission’s approval is upheld.

While Paynter is mainly concerned over parking space availability, he also mentioned that protesters could be attracted to the location, potentially causing shoppers to avoid other businesses in the surrounding buildings.

“Our concern is that the typical demonstrations which occur outside of Planned Parenthood will be significantly harmful to both Marshalls and Bed Bath and Beyond as well as to the current and future businesses located at the Sequoia Mall,” Paynter stated in a letter to the planning commission.

In an ironic twist, if approved, Hobby Lobby would be kitty-corner to the Planned Parenthood site; the company’s owner is an Evangelical Christian and has attracted national attention to his anti-abortion and anti-birth control stances.


The response

Upon news of the hearing, Tulare-Kings Right to Life sent out an “Urgent” email blast before the originally-scheduled January 18 hearing, asking for support in voting down the project but requesting no protesting or picketing.

“Tulare-Kings Right to Life has been notified of proposed plans for Planned Parenthood to purchase a building on Mooney Blvd near Hobby Lobby and Bed Bath and Beyond in Visalia. We are asking for support in voicing opposition at the next Visalia City Council Meeting…. We ask that there be no protesting or picketing.  This meeting is open to the public and the voices of our local community need to be heard,” the email states.

Planned Parenthood would not purchase its spaces, but would instead lease spaces from the Orosco Group. A follow-up email blast stated that the January 18 meeting was postponed “due to COVID related issues” – the meeting was still held, but without the public hearing.

The organization held a Zoom conference with stakeholders this week in order to strategize on possible next steps to oppose the Planned Parenthood location and declined to comment to the Voice on any potential plans.


Hearing rescheduled

Paynter says he requested the public hearing be moved after he was advised that only four city council members would be present at the January 18 meeting.

“When you only have 4 council members it gets tricky,” he said. If one of them can’t make the meeting, there would only be three members – and you can’t overturn a conditional use permit on a 2-1 vote, he said: it would have to be a 3-0 vote.

Councilmember Brian Poochigian confirmed that, in fact, two city council members were absent – but that an appeal could pass with a 2-1 vote.

Planned Parenthood’s current location, close to downtown Visalia, is only about 1500 square feet, according to staff working there.

Staff members told the Voice they were looking forward to moving into the larger facility on Mooney and were unaware that the decision was being appealed.


Parking’s the issue – not the tenant

The issue of whether a Planned Parenthood can move into 3221 S. Mooney may be moot.

The bigger issue says Paynter is the parking situation and the impact it will have on retail sales of the surrounding businesses.

Rafael Garcia, Senior Planner for the City of Visalia, said that who the tenants are do not factor into the commission’s decision. Garcia said that the commission makes sure that the intended use of the building is appropriate for the region, complies with the general plan, and complies with Visalia’s zoning ordinance.

The Visalia City Planning Commission concluded that a medical office conformed to the city’s criteria.

The zoning for the building is Regional Commercial (C-R), and medical offices are a permissible use in C-R zones. The only requirement is that they obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the planning commission.

Garcia, said the site plan submitted to the commission complies with the required number of parking stalls for a medical office.

“They are following the rules,” said Garcia.

But Paynter disagrees.

Paynter’s appeal states that the applicant for the CUP “restriped the main ingress/regress drive off Mooney Boulevard to create additional new stalls.”

“They really aren’t even legitimate parking spaces,” said Paynter.

“A medical clinic requires extended parking time for its clientele which will be detrimental to the surrounding retail. Coupled with the existing Aspen Dental, the amount of medical parking spaces which will be used within the shopping center will be significantly harmful to the retail taxable sales and ongoing success of the Marshalls and Bed Bath and Beyond stores.”

The impact to retail sales, he said, will reduce the amount of taxable income to the city of Visalia.

On inspection of the building at 3221 S. Mooney the Voice saw only three or four spaces available. Aspen Dental, which takes up only one third of the building, seemingly used up almost the entire parking lot.

Orosco Group’s  Operational Statement to the planning department says, “this (medical) facility will have 10 full-time employees. The operating hours for the medical office will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The office will have two physicians onsite daily, and it is expected to receive as many as 40 patients per day.”

For possible parking overflow the Orosco Group said they could “provide an additional 10 parking spaces via a proposed parking agreement with the former Ryan’s Place right next door.”

A new pizza parlor is already in the works to take over Ryan’s Place, which is also owned by the Orosco Group.

City planners concluded that the new pizza parlor will have the required number of parking spaces even if ten spaces are used by Planned Parenthood.

But there are large obstacles between the medical office and the future pizza parlor.

A large hedge along the side of the restaurant and an entrance and exit road to Mooney  Boulevard separate the Orosco Group’s  allotted  ten parking spaces and the medical office, making it very unlikely Aspen Dental or Planned Parenthood clients would seriously consider parking there.

Once the pizza parlor opens, overflow of the restaurant and Planned Parenthood will presumably go into the adjacent Bed Bath and Beyond and Marshalls parking lot.

“The more likely location for the medical parking will be west of the medical clinic in the Marshalls/Bed Bath and Beyond parking lot” said Paynter’s appeal.

The Orosco Group did not return multiple requests from the Voice for comment.

The February 7, 2022 Visalia City Council meeting will be held in their chambers at 707 W. Acequia. Overflow will be directed to watch the meeting on monitors outside the chambers or participate remotely.

17 thoughts on “Planned Parenthood facing opposition to new Mooney location

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  1. I swear I think Valley Voice is looking to stir up drama. Lol so they are appealing because people might protest? That’s a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT! YOUR BUSINESS HAS NO SAY IN CITIZENS RIGHTS! Planned Parenthood had to pay for surveys. The planning commission UNANIMOUSLY Agreed! SO THEY ARE SAYING THE PARKING THE ISSUE BUT RIGHT TO LIFE SENT OUT A “BLAST” EMAIL, WHATEVER THAT Means. SOUNDS LIKE CONSERVATIVES PUSHING THEIR AGENDA AND IT WON’T WORK. APPEAL WILL FAIL. THEY HAVE NO REASONABLE CLAIM.

    • Keep in mind that effective family planning is the greatest force for reducing abortions. Outlawing abortions will just eliminate legal abortions. Some equate Family Planning with abortions, but that is a minuscule portion of the services they provide.

  2. These are the same folks who would impose three tenets of *their* faith on everyone as a matter of law, counter to a different part of of the First Amendment that Chris mentioned above.

    Given that most of them probably are antivaxx and antimask, it’s plain they don’t understand any of the principles of medicine, public health, or the Constitution.

    Council would be right and wise, righteous even, to reject their anti-American pleas.

    • You don’t acknowledge ALL of the services that Planned Parenthood provides to both women and men. Click on the attached link and educate yourself. If you are already aware of ALL the services that Planned Parenthood offers, which includes PREVENTING those unwanted pregnancies then perhaps it is you who doesn’t care about the life of others. Now Brian, I sincerely hope you practice safe sex with your spouse, partner, or social contacts. There is a lot more for “men” to worry about health wise besides those unwanted pregnancies that men helped create but if you should ever happen to need their services you should be thankful that you are able to go to Planned Parenthood for help. Please read on:

    • How much of you paycheck do you give to orphans? It’s sad that Trump put business profits over US CITIZENS LIVES during the pandemic. It’s sad conservatives restrict health care for humans to save money other than lives! REPUBLICANS ARE NOT PRO LIFE! TRUMP IS NOT PRO LIFE!!

  3. Its sad that Planned Parenthood was founded by a women who was a racist. I would urge readers to google the founder of Planned Parenthood. Having said that, the defenders of Planned Parenthood will always look the other way, even though Planned Parenthood profits from the sale fetal tissue. So no one can say, that Planned Parenthood isn’t controversial. Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to locate in the cities center, because it stirs passions on both sides of the isle. I’m not suggesting Planned Parenthood locate next to the SPCA, but the city should consider an alternative location.

    • Margaret Sanger 1878-1966
      Sanger died at the age of 88 and has been dead for 56 years. She wasn’t the only person who made a profound difference to this world who had racist views. Many American leaders were racists; a number of them became U.S. Presidents and public servants in our cities, States, and Federal governments. There are large corporations that support racism as well as a number of our local businesses. Tulare County, since its incorporation has a long history of racism which continues a great deal to this day only now it is considered to be disadvantageous to be overt about it. Getting back to Ms. Sanger, I can’t change her past therefore I will only speak about the here and now in regards to Planned Parenthood. TODAY’S PLANNED PARENTHOOD has totally distanced itself from Ms. Sanger and her philosophies and has taken down all statues of her and removed all memorabilia of her, of which I applaud! That said her creation of Planned Parenthood and also as a driving force behind the creation of the birth control pill was a Godsend for women across this world. Was she a racist? Yes! Do I like it? No! However, Margaret Sanger helped create for women the realization and opportunity to control their bodies. In her sometimes soured lemon view of the world thankfully a world of lemonade was created. Some say the Lord moves in mysterious ways. Who am I to dispute that!


      • No, you hate America. I love my country! Oh, and btw…not to condone the practice, because its abhorrent, but slavery history and it wasn’t exclusive to this country. Unfortunately, it occurred on every continent and many countries in the world including Africa. Whoopi Goldberg should of known, that even white jews suffered the same fate, if she was familiar with the bible.


      • Democrats are PRO LIFE if you happen to be a criminal on death row and black and latino people want more police, not less police to fight crime. Crime disproportionately effects minorities and unfortunately Democrats care more about the rights of criminals then they do for law and order. Thats a fact Comrade Chad!

  4. If we don’t have a healthy economy then nothing else matters. Where does all the money come from to pay for the services government funds? We’ve lost so many manufacturing jobs that paid well to China, because they’re workers are lucky if they make $2.00 an hour. How do you compete in a world economy like that? Your are hopelessly naive Chad, if you don’t think its necessary to have a healthy business climate in order to be competitive in a world economy. It waa different when the United States was the leader in car manufacturing, but we lost that edge a long time ago. Ford was very good to their employees and the Founder of Ford instituted some work related reforms to his credit, that were adopted and passed into law by Congress. So you are wrong if you suggest are workforce isn’t treated with the highest safety standards, non discrimination standards or benefits in the world, but nothing matters if you don’t have a job and for every person who would rather sit at home and collect a check, then work for a living. Don’t forget that businesses pay for your unemployment insurance. We have nothing to fall back on if the tax revenue isn’t there, so we all benifit when we have a thriving economy and bussinesses can hire more workers. Its pointless to debate liberals, because you think you’re the justice warriors, but silence is deafening when it comes to the crime, slaughter, and businesses fleeing the inner cities. Its funny how Democrats always want more money for problems, when they keep doubling down on stupid policies that don’t work.

    • Well geez DW here is one Democrat who happens to find your comments about the economy well stated. I also believe in “working” if one can find the work and is physically and mentally capable of doing working. Too bad that you painted ALL Democrats with the same broad biased brush. There are moderate to conservative Democrats right here in Tulare County who have worked hard throughout their lives and never had to take one dime in public assistance but don’t begrudge those who have needed to. We also support women’s rights, voter rights, and people’s rights. Open your eyes, your mind, and your heart.

      • I was a JFK Democrat growing up, but unfortunately if you’re a moderate Democrat today and support the Democrat parties shift to the left, then you are falling on deaf ears. The Democrat party has shifted 180° degrees from the party it once was under JFK and as recently as Bill Clinton. I’m sure they’re are some moderate Democrats in congress still, but only a couple of them have stood firm against the radical left commonly referred to as the squad in the Democrat party. Biden’s been a disappointment, because he was less than honest with the American people when he claimed that he was the only moderate candidate left upon the Democrat debate stage. Maybe, Democrats could learn a lesson or two, because they’ve definitely over played their hand, losing so much support amongst independents. Maybe, the majority of the American people are not interested in radical change, but want border security, lower gasoline prices and an end to inflation. Maybe, it would be nice to get back to normal for a change?

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