Fresno Adopts New 'Smart Growth' General Plan

Dec 18, 2014

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council approved a new general plan last night that for the first time attempts to but the brakes on suburban sprawl. 

Over the next two decades, the plan calls for about half of the city's future growth to take place within the existing city limits and the rest in new growth areas like west of Highway 99 and in Southeast Fresno. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the council's 5-2 vote historic, and a new direction for the city.

Swearengin: "A direction that focuses on our existing neighborhoods and the part of our city that need to be revitalized before we aggressively pursue growth on the periphery."

Council members Steve Brandau and Clint Olivier voted against the plan. Olivier says that he's worried that by forcing Fresno to grow up rather than out, that more sprawl will be pushed outside of the city to Madera, Clovis and Sanger. 

Olivier: "To me development, business, [the] free market is like a balloon filled with air. And you can squeeze one part of it or squeeze the other part of it and the air inside will take the path of least resistance."

A companion piece of the new general plan, a new development code will go before the council early next year.