VISALIA – The appeal hearing for a local developer opposing a Planned Parenthood clinic on Mooney Boulevard has been postponed to March 7.

According to the Visalia City Council’s Feb. 7 agenda, it was Planned Parenthood who requested to push back the public hearing.

Earlier this year, developer Dave Paynter, owner of Paynter Realty & Investments, Inc., stated in a letter to the Visalia Planning Commission he is concerned with patients at the medical office, located at 3221 S. Mooney Blvd., using up parking spaces for nearby retailers Bed Bath & Beyond and Marshalls, both of which he owns as part of the Sequoia Mall property, and the possibility of protests.

“The medical clinic proposed is Planned Parenthood,” Paynter wrote in a Dec. 10 letter. “Our concern is that the typical demonstrations which occur outside of Planned Parenthood will also be significantly harmful to both Marshalls and Bed Bath & Beyond as well as to the current and future businesses located at the Sequoia Mall.”

Planned Parenthood has been a source of controversy in communities across the country over its offering of abortion services, which can include in-clinic abortions or the abortion pill, as well as referrals to abortion clinics and follow up appointments. Planned Parenthood provided services to an estimated 2.4 million people in 31 states in 2020. The organization also advocated for Immigrant Rights, Defund the Police, Get Out the Count and Bans Off My Body campaigns nationwide.

Planned Parenthood already has a clinic on Stevenson Street in Visalia which provides abortion referrals, birth control, women’s reproductive health, HIV services, LGBTQ services, as well as testing, treatment and vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases, according to….

Rafael Garcia, senior planner for the city of Visalia, said Paynter’s letter was the first time he was aware the project was a Planned Parenthood because applicants do not have to notify the city of who the tenant will be, and in some cases don’t know and are remodeling for future uses. The city received the letter three days before the Planning Commission’s Dec. 13 public hearing on the clinic so staff was unable to include it in the packet. Nothing in the application submitted by developer Matt Nohr noted the name of the clinic or the types of services they would offer….

The above comes from a Feb. 7 story in the Visalia Sun-Gazette.