Judge rules on Friant Ranch project

December 15, 2012 12:17:24 AM PST
A county judge ruled on the controversial senior housing village that's had the City of Fresno and county caught up in a legal battle.

The hills along Friant Road would be transformed into residential and commercial development under the Friant Ranch Project.

The multi-million dollar development that would bring a senior living facility to the rolling hills near the Friant community met resistance even before the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved the project almost two years ago.

Soon after the plan became a legal battle when the City of Fresno and environmental groups filed multiple lawsuits seeking to stop the project over claims of unnecessary sprawl.

"They're going to be using these parks, that's going to contribute to the deterioration of the parks," Parkway and Conservation Trust attorney Tamara Galanter said.

On Friday afternoon Judge Rosendo Pena issued his ruling on the Friant Ranch project. The judge halted the project until the county submits a new environmental impact report on the development's possible damage to surrounding parks.

"Moving 5,000 new people next door to Lost Late Park, within walking distance of other regional parks, is going to have an impact on those parks," Galanter said.

But the judge ruled in the county's favor on all other claims, rejecting the city's concerns with traffic and water supply.

"We see in following the judge's direction to take another look at one area of the air and to provide the analysis he thought would be required, but ultimately the major areas, water, waste water, air quality, the traffic report, the judge upheld those major areas totally adequate," Friant Ranch developer Dennis Bacopulos said.

The county will now have to submit a new analysis report before it can get the green light to move forward, which may take several months.


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