News you need to be in the know: Paradise Ranch approved, Three Rivers groundbreaking, Larry Micari visit

The Sunshine Paradise Ranch, located 9.5 miles up South Fork, is one-half mile above where the pavement ends. The special use permit caps the numbers of commercial use visitors at 15 and prohibits the use of two homes, on the upper portion of the four-acre property, for use as vacation rentals.

Paradise SUP

After three contentious public hearings where the majority of speakers were against the project, the Tulare County Planning Commission broke a tie and voted 4-2 for approval. The vote came at the Wednesday, October 30, meeting in the Board of Supervisor’s chambers in Visalia.

The Sunshine Paradise Ranch was granted a special use permit for a “guest ranch” in AF (Foothill Agricultural) zoning with conditions. After acquiescing on a setback variance that would have allowed camping in tipis within 50 feet of the river, the applicant agreed to relinquish the right to use two homes on the property as short term rentals when they were not occupied by the owners.

The permit also stipulates that the maximum amount of paying guests allowed per day be capped at 15. Had the vacation rental houses been approved, there could have been 26 or more visitors at the site with day-use guests also allowed to assemble at the site.

Other conditions that were approved with the permit include no open fires from March until November or later if the local fire season is extended. Site inspections and an annual review of findings must be reported on a regular schedule to the Planning Commission.

What it means: Both sides have 10 days in which to appeal the Commission’s decision. It also demonstrates a willingness of the Commission to restrict or deny commercial activities even if they are appropriate under the zoning.

Disclosure: John Elliott is the Tulare County-District 1 (Three Rivers) planning commissioner. He voted to approve this project as amended.

Three Rivers Historical Society board members, with help from Kuyler Crocker, District 1 Supervisor, broke ground for the new public restrooms on Friday, October 18. The $500,000 construction project is expected to be completed by Spring 2020. Left to right: Jackie Tuttle, director; Julie Britten-Bruns, director; Bob Burke, director; Nancy Brunson, Vice President; Kuyler Crocker; Tom Marshall, President; Dody Marshall, Secretary; and Daryl Bruns, director. 

Groundbreaking for new restrooms

It’s been nearly five decades since Three Rivers has had public restrooms. That restroom building was located along North Kaweah Drive at an abandoned location of a county park adjacent to the former Three Rivers Airport.

On Friday, October 18, a group of supporters, friends, and contractors gathered on the site of new public restrooms to be built near the west boundary of the Three Rivers Historical Society property on Sierra Drive.

The $500,000 project will consist of men’s, women’s, and unisex bathrooms with a travel path and two new ADA parking spaces. Major funding for the project is being provided by the County of Tulare.

What it means: Come spring of 2020, barring unforeseen circumstances, Three Rivers joins the ranks of communities that when you’ve got to go you’ll have a clean, comfortable place to do so.

Micari visits Three Rivers

Larry Micari, a self-professed candidate for Tulare County Supervisor (District 1), was in Three Rivers for a “Meet and Greet” on Tuesday, October 22. The gathering of several dozen supporters and District 1 voters was held in the banquet room of the Gateway Restaurant. Micari spoke to the group on his background, his tenure with Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, and what constituents might expect if/when he is elected.

Micari’s candidacy cannot become official to run in the 2020 primary until the filing period begins in January 2020. As a resident of Exeter, Micari’s experience working in Visalia gives him name recognition where there is the greatest concentration of District 1 voters.

What it means: Micari’s career in Tulare County law enforcement and the fact that he is well known in Visalia could be advantages to win enough votes to unseat incumbent Kuyler Crocker.  No incumbent has ever been unseated in a District 1 supervisor’s race as far back as anyone can remember.


Larry Micari, candidate for District 1 Supervisor, made a campaign stop in Three Rivers on October 22. The Gateway Restaurant played host to the “Meet and Greet.”


7 thoughts on “News you need to be in the know: Paradise Ranch approved, Three Rivers groundbreaking, Larry Micari visit

  • October 31, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Two fun facts:

    The PD-F combined zoning cited by Bock several times during his and Hector Guerra’s low-brow personal attacks on community members were plain out wrong. No area immediately adjacent to the Three Rivers area has been approved under this zoning—not once in the last three decades. The areas all explicitly fall under Exclusive Agriculture in the FGMP, and into Non-Corridor Areas of the general plan. CEQA is very clear and specific regarding the hierarchy of general plans over zoning, as several case laws have been established to stop lead agencies from overriding their general plans with simple zoning amendments, or zoning exceptions which are largely superceded by updated general plans. If the parcels at our outskirts were safe enough for commercial development they would have been included, several times over, into Planned Development Areas or Development Corridors. Like the RMA would ever spare an inch of soil—anywhere in this county—valued anything higher than dirt? And as it’s clearly spelled out in the FGMP, any Williamson Act parcel within a development corridor or PDA would have been zoned AE and thus not applicable for a ‘Guest Ranch’ Use Permit. But who am I, or any of the concerned citizens of Three Rivers, to dare question the professionalism of such a highly reputable RMA? The way in which people were treated this week was appalling, and some of these relationships with the County are only just the beginning.

  • November 1, 2019 at 7:45 am

    It could have been 6 guests max Vacation Rental in a safer, more contained house. That would be a more acceptable compromise for “property rights” argument and Agricultural Foothills preservation. Approving a commercial development instead hardly seems to be limiting or denial. There was no formal cap on additional “day use” guests that I heard at all.

    The actual denial included 1) supposed concerned discussion even among Commissioners about heightened CA fire hazard and evacuation hazards, yet proceeding, 2) disallowing immediate presentation in chambers or even a 24-hour delay for adequate evidence presentation when Native American cultural heritage and preservation evidence available for private, confidential , immediate presentation was offered, and 3) RMA and its disingenuous dismissal of CEQA which then was the rationale for most everything else.

    The worst denial was oblique but truly offensive. The fact was that Three Rivers citizens attended a public hearing speaking to their government representatives. Perhaps the worst aspect — other than approving an hazardous mistaken commercial development – was Public Servants spouting, repeatedly, specious reference to the “US Constitution” and somehow disparaging public opposition when in fact the very hearing was the essence of Constitutional conduct.

    • November 1, 2019 at 11:00 am

      The the way RMA conducted themselves was horrifying, especially with regards to the concerns brought forth by a Tribal Representative, who offered to share confidential information regarding Cultural Resource Sites in private chambers with the Planning Commissioners. This tribal elder was completely dismissed by RMA staff, who bluntly stated that “public comment submissions are closed” when in fact they were not. This blatant disrespect of a Native American elder is unacceptable and shameful on the part of RMA and the Planning Commission.

  • November 1, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Can suit be brought for “cease and desist”?
    Is there legal recourse for the citizens of Three
    Rivers to pursue their concerns?

  • November 2, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I’m going to be less measured in my comment than the previous community members. have been.

    Yes, the county rep clearly had his thumb on the scale with his insistent reminders to the Commissioners that “Tulare County is a Property Rights County and We Respect the Constitution” – but the most horrendous aspect of this hearing, to me, was the fact that “our” representative on the Commission, John Elliot, who lives right here in 3R, voted in favor of the proposed project in both votes (the initial tied vote and the second vote.) Despite the overwhelming and virtually unanimous opposition of South Fork (and other 3R) residents concerned about the extreme fire danger presented by the proposed development, and the specter of disastrous evacuation hurdles that we full-time residents will face in the event of a disaster, Mr Elliot somehow thought that simply reducing the number of permitted guests would make everything OK. Non-3R-resident Commissioners had more concern for actual county residents.

  • November 5, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    currently south fork will be impacted by “guest ranches” that have no business doing what they are doing in this environment. community opposition is being disregarded in favor of a faceless developer back east who cares nothing about the well being of 3r. north fork, what area will be impacted next? dinely, mineral king etc, can expect intrusive developments coming to their neighborhoods now that the county has opened that door.. anybody who values their way of life here should be very concerned..

  • November 8, 2019 at 10:00 am

    I was raised in this beautiful little town and my childhood years have fantastic memories living on a North Fork ranch. I may have moved away but I come home frequently to this beautiful place nestled in the foothills where my swimming hole and favorite memories haven’t changed much. The blackberry vines in the pastures and hills that we use to pick for cobblers and jam and the acorns falling form the oak trees,that certain fresh smell when you are walking. Do we want the river polluted,trees leveled out where no one can experience these things anymore? Yes. thanks to development they want to come in to this paradise and use their modernization for money when they live far away. I am so happy I was raised back in the late 50″s here when I could ride my horse like the wind and have the Three Rivers memories in my heart. I pray it doesn’t change for our future kids and the people that love this town so much .


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