"We designed this project to be very walkable, very pedestrian friendly with pocket parks and a trail system," Assemi told the Fresno City Council.
The public hearing often sounded like a commercial for Granville Homes, with company employees, construction workers and residents who lived in other Granville subdivisions promoting the planned Westlake development. Central Unified School Superintendent Mike Berg also endorsed the development.
"I'm speaking support because we are a growing community. And large well planned communities like this that are done in collaboration with agencies like mine are hard to come by."
But critic Justine Barber was among those who argued the project on the city's fringe amounted to urban sprawl. "In our view this is just a continuation of the city's long history of sprawl for which it has become well known and has created a lot of serious problems."
There were also concerns about water, and questions about the wisdom of building a 55 acre man-made lake, but city council member Steve Brandau defended as being a more efficient use of water. "Had you removed the lake and you put more homes in there that is actually a greater use of water than having the lake there."
The Fresno City Council is taking the public comments into consideration and is expected to make a decision on the plans for the project at their next meeting. If they approve, it is expected to take from 12 to 18 years to be completed.