Council to vote on conflicting plans for Fresno's growth

FRESNO, California

It would re-direct the city's growth plan to the urban core, and older neighborhoods. The council put off a decision then, but those who want to end the city's sprawling growth pattern have not let up.

Sharon Stanley is a vocal supporter of Alternative A: "We are in support of it especially because of the ways it is increasing density, it is helping to build up the urban core of the community, it's reducing sprawl."

Alternative A has the support of Mayor Ashley Swearengin, but not all of the council members, including Council President Clint Olivier are on board with the idea of more lofts, condominiums and row type houses in the inner city. "Plan A puts a huge amount of emphasis on infill and I'm not sure that is the way to go."

But developers are pushing "Alternative E" which allows for the more expansive growth they feel the buyers want. "There needs to be a supply of the standard 6 thousand square foot lot that people want to buy... the majority of people."

And Building Industry Association director Mike Prandini adds if that growth isn't allowed in Fresno, it will go to neighboring cities. "If it shortens the supply, or limits the supply then the demand will go someplace else... because Clovis has those size lots, those larger size lots."

Former City Council Member Tom Boyajian, who spearheaded efforts to limit urban sprawl a decade ago says this latest effort is too little, too late. "Urban sprawl has already happened. It's like telling a guy who's been smoking all his life to stop smoking. It's already done. You've done it, you've totally ruined the city."

And Boyajian notes that whatever General Plan the council approves, developers are free to seek exceptions, and they will usually get them. "If you're a developer and you want something done, you're going to get it done in the city of Fresno."

The Fresno City Council is expected to make a decision on the General Plan tonight.

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