Group opposes proposal to rezone area of southwest Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A group of community leaders gathered together on Friday in opposition of rezoning an area in southwest Fresno.

The application for rezoning includes 92 acres between South Elm Street and Highway 41 and East Vine Avenue to near North Avenue.

The group opposing the rezoning said when the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan was put in place several years ago. The goal was to reduce the number of industrial businesses in the area.

Officials say part of the reason for the plan was to protect the health of those who live in the area.

The group says if the area is rezoned, it will reverse course and allow for more industrial businesses.

However, supporters of the change say the businesses have been there since before the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan was created and implemented.

They are asking to be allowed to continue to bring on new tenants at businesses that already exist.

"We want development in southwest Fresno that will restore life and vitality to our community and not perpetuate a narrative where our life expectancy is significantly less than people who live and work in other parts of our great city," said Pastor B.T. Lewis II with Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church.

"If the city doesn't approve this, it's going to send the wrong signal to the national and local business community that the city is closed for business," said Attorney John P. Kinsey. "It will lose a lot of tax revenue and businesses who have invested a lot of money in this city."

Those in favor of the rezoning say the current businesses won't be changing and will remain good neighbors.

Those opposed say they're not stopping current industrial businesses, but they just don't want new ones coming in.

The proposal will be presented to the planning commission on April 7 at 6:00 pm.
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