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The city council recently voted to create an overlay district, which will allow micro brewery/wine businesses to open in the east downtown area. This will encompass approximately 220-acres bounded by Murray Avenue on the north, Ben Maddox Way on the east, Mineral King on the south, and Santa Fe to the west. While some sought to expand the area covered by this new overlay, the council declined in order to see if these new types of businesses will be the impetus needed for the development of east downtown. The new zoning amendment will remove existing requirements for a micro brewery/winery to include a restaurant component and allows retail sale for offsite consumption. However, these establishments must be at least 200 feet distant from any existing sensitive uses, including elementary schools, children’s museums, parks, or places of worship.

District Elections

We’re only one-month away from Visalia’s first district elections. The City Council amended the city code a couple of years ago to change from citywide to district elections, and to hold council elections in even-numbered years. Districts 1 and 2 are now up for grabs. Amy Shuklian will not be running in District 1, since she recently was elected to the county Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Bob Link is running again in his District 2. As an amateur political scientist, I am interested to see how district elections will change the way local campaigns are run. For instance, it should be a lot less expensive for a candidate to campaign in just one area of the city as opposed to citywide, fewer signs will be needed, and it will be much easier to walk precincts and meet the voters in a more limited area. District elections were also supposed to serve as encouragement for more minority candidates to run for local office, but none did this go-around. Maybe next time? We have some excellent candidates running in both races and we wish them all well.


At our August 15th council meeting, the city council approved converting two of the tennis courts at Plaza Park into eight pickleball courts. The increasing popularity of this sport in Visalia and elsewhere has been amazing. At our meeting, we had a vigorous discussion by members of the public, both pro and con on this issue. Everyone agreed that we need more pickleball and tennis courts. The two separately fenced courts on the south side of the tennis complex at Plaza Park will be resurfaced, and will have permanent posts and nets installed with new striping and fencing. We hope to have these courts ready for our 2017 Senior Games and to host future tournaments. To host a tournament, a city must have at least eight pickleball courts. People who play pickleball usually stay and spend, populating our local hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas.

Miki Japan Trip

We’re down to one-month until our delegation of 11 Visalians depart for a seven-day visit to Miki Japan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our sister city relationship. I’ll write more later to give you the details of that visit and about the experiences of our hardy adventurers/ambassadors!

What a wonderful surprise!

The city recently received the following “thank you” note from Michelle Pimentel of the Stonebridge neighborhood: “I took my dog on our morning walk, and lo and behold! I found five new crepe myrtles planted along the creek bank, replacing the poor dead roses that were recently removed. What a wonderful surprise! And they’ll do well as they have dedicated water used at one time for the roses. The crepe myrtles will really perk up our section of the Packwood Creek trail. I don’t know who to specifically thank, so I’ve addressed this thank you to all of you who have been working on this area (I’m sure it’s purely coincidental that you chose my favorite crepe myrtle color!).” Thank you, Michelle, for noticing and for your nice comments.

If you have questions or topics regarding the city, which you would like to have addressed in future articles, please email Warren at, or call 559-713-4400 x 3313. For past articles, visit