Fresno Council re-approves demolition in historic neighborhood

December 7, 2012 12:52:10 AM PST
The Fresno City Council had to take another vote on a development project they had already approved. Last year council members gave the green light to the Granville Homes apartment development on L Street near downtown. It's located in a historic neighborhood. Two old houses on the site were torn down after the city determined they were not of historic interest.

But a preservation group, "The Friends of L Street," fought the decision in court. A judge agreed with the city that the homes were not of historic significance, but ruled the city didn't follow the law in approving the demolition and the project. So the city council held another hearing to decide the issue again.

Developer Darius Assemi urged the council to correct their mistake, re-approve the demolition of the already torn down houses, and clear the way for him to build.

"How many more studies to we have to do, how much more time do we have to spend before we can get a 28 unit apartment complex off the ground in a neighborhood that's been blighted for years?" He asked the council members on Thursday.

While Assemi and some council members accused the group, "The Friends of L Street" of trying to block progress, the group spokesman Charles Bartlett told Action News they just wanted the city and developers to do things right.

"And I hope the message that we send is, just obey the law, just do the EIR, (Environmental Impact Report) just do it at the front end."

In the end the city council voted unanimously to re-approve the project.

The Friends of L Street are considering their next move. The 28 unit apartment complex would be architecturally compatible with the existing homes in the neighborhood.