Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the issue of hunger in the valley. A new survey of high poverty neighborhoods known as Fresno Hunger Count aims to give leaders a better idea of the state of food insecurity.

High Speed Rail Authority

Will California’s high-speed rail system be German enough?

That question is not a joke, as I learned last month while riding Germany’s popular high-speed rail. In fact, it’s a more important question than the ones Californians have been myopically asking for years about the costs, funding, and construction deadlines of the state’s controversial project.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno City Council President Oliver Baines says a new city-sponsored planning effort could finally give Southwest Fresno residents the community they desire. Speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, Baines say the new Southwest Fresno Specific Plan will improve zoning conflicts between residential and industrial uses, and encourage new mixed income developments in the area, thanks to an expedited environmental review process. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has rejected a proposal to move forward with an effort to preserve area farmland from development.

The council voted down the proposed grant application today to start a farmland preservation program, which is key part of the city’s newly adopted general plan.

The program would require developers to offset the loss of farmland from urbanization by agreeing to preserve farmland elsewhere.

Council member Lee Brand says he wants more public input before committing to such a program.

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.

Heather Heinks / City of Fresno General Plan Update

The Fresno City Council is scheduled to hear public comments on the city’s new 2035 general plan in meeting at the Convention Center this evening. The move is the last step before a vote next week on the document that will chart the city’s growth for decades to come.

City planning director Jennifer Clark says the new General Plan attempts to answer a question that has perplexed city leaders for decades:

California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors reversed course on Tuesday morning, voting to officially oppose California's controversial high speed rail project. 

The 3-2 vote comes just days after contractors working for the rail authority began demolishing buildings in Fresno to make way for the train. 

Since 2007, the county has officially held a position in support of the project, though in 2012 the supervisors sent a letter to the authority that was critical of the effort. 

California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors decided to wait on a proposal Tuesday that would have formally positioned the county as opposed to California’s high speed rail project. The effort which was led by Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, who says the project’s funding should be diverted to other areas like water or public safety.

Poochigian spoke with Valley Public Radio on Monday afternoon before the meeting:

I studied to become a civil engineer with the goal of building grand things, like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and Interstate freeways. Thanks to two inspiring professors, late in my college years I began to think about the unanticipated consequences of these major engineering projects, from the displacement of homes and businesses to pollution and traffic.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Across California, urban planners and health professionals are increasingly looking at the connections between the design of our communities and the health of the people who live there. Many neighborhoods that lack sidewalks and access to parks have dramatically different health outcomes than those that do. Correcting that problem is the focus of an event taking place on Thursday in Kern County called “Community Design Matters   - Building Walkable Healthy Livable Communities." Dr.