The City of Tulare’s Site Plan Review Committee met Wednesday, February 22, to discuss an application submitted by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to build a new facility in that city.
A site plan review is the first step to get a project approved by the city.
The meeting was held at 1:30 at Tulare City Hall on Kern Ave and supporters of Tulare-Kings Right to Life were there at the steps early, praying and holding up signs, to protest with about 50 members.
The application indicated that Del Lago Development Company, represented by Jamil Fraser, is proposing to build a new medical facility on the corner of Leland Ave and Paseo Del Lago. The empty lot is just under one acre and is currently owned by Fred Lagomarsino.
Though specifications may change, the building is anticipated to be a 6,000 square foot community medical clinic employing five to ten personnel.
When asked during the meeting if the medical facility will provide ambulance services Fraser said the services provided by the clinic “have not been finalized.”
This was assumed to mean that the developer had not decided whether to provide surgical abortions at the new clinic.
Even though a the site plan committee does not evaluate a project on its purpose, but rather if it conforms with city codes and zoning, members of Tulare-Kings Right to Life wanted to make their opposition heard from the beginning.
In an email blast sent out to its members it stated, “We are asking for support in voicing opposition!”
“We need your help to STOP PLANNED PARENTHOOD from building an abortion clinic in the town of Tulare. We need as many people as possible to contact the owner of the land Fred Lagomarsino or his assistant that is working on this project, Matt Warmerdam.”
The flyer gave a suggested script for those calling in opposition.
“I am calling regarding the proposed ABORTION Clinic/Planned Parenthood that is on the agenda for the Site Planning commission to be reviewed tomorrow, February 22nd at 1:30 pm. We would like to oppose this request to further the plans to build this Abortion Clinic. Please consider my request. Thank you.”
“Fred Lagomarsino was contacted on Wednesday but was out of the office,” said Rick Wehmuller, the Executive Director of Tulare-Kings Right to Life.
The group also encouraged members to call and email all Tulare City officials, providing their phone numbers and addresses on the flyer.
According to a City of Tulare staff member, many emails and calls were received from TKRL and “were duly noted.”
The group led similar protests when Visalia’s Planned Parenthood wanted to expand to a larger facility on Mooney. Though no surgical abortions would be performed at the Visalia facility, rumors persisted to the contrary.
The proposed 6,500 square foot medical clinic close to the corner of Mooney and Sunnyside Ave was voted down by the Visalia City Council after an appeal of the planning commission’s approval in December of 2021. The council said that they did not think Visalia’s busiest commercial zone was an appropriate location for a Planned Parenthood.
There is currently no facility available in Tulare and Kings Counties for medical abortions.
During the meeting a staffer said “there will be opposition to this project” insinuating the approval may take longer than usual.
It was assumed that if the Tulare Planning Commission did approve of the project that their decision would be appealed to the Tulare City Council.
According to Assistant City Manager Josh McDonnell, “the next step for them [Planned Partenthood] would be to submit an application to the City for a Conditional Use Permit along with the accompanying fee. The City would then review the application materials for completeness. Once an application is deemed complete, it typically takes the City 4 to 8 weeks to complete the analysis and get it to a public hearing.“
“The Planning Commission would serve as the decision-making body. The City Council would serve as the appeal body if the decision of the Planning Commission were appealed,” he added.