Tag: developers

Fresno Mayoral Election – What will it mean for sprawl?

If you support investment in a strong downtown, curtailing sprawl, focusing on infill, fighting slumlords, and supporting high speed rail, which candidate should you support in the upcoming Fresno mayoral election?

Downtown Fresno, before the removal of the Fulton Mall

The good news is that fortunately for Fresno, neither candidate is a disaster. Neither candidate has declared that downtown should be abandoned, or that bike lanes are part of a secret international agenda, for example. Unfortunately, that means that voting tomorrow becomes a little harder, because one has to conduct a little research. Click to read more!

Beautiful countryside to make way for massive 5,000 home sprawl project

There’s something almost sinister about the way a developer gushes about the natural landscapes, beautiful views, and rolling hills he is about to bulldoze to build cookie-cutter tract homes.

The Madera County Planning Commission approved the tentative map for the first phase of the project two and a half weeks ago. Now, the builder is working on detailed plans which will bring more than 850 homes to what Bob McCaffrey, the company’s chief executive officer, calls “the most romantic piece of land” he’s ever seen. Click to read more!

Will Fresno council kill infill general plan?

Developers aching for more sprawl versus everybody else. Sound familiar?

Sometimes Fresno feels like a broken record, and this time it’s no different. Tomorrow, the City Council may finally vote on the 2035 General Plan Update. The plan supports infill development as an attempt to curtail the ever-expanding city boundary. It won’t BAN sprawl, it will just aim to decrease it. But for some, that’s too much.

Naturally, the developers of tract homes aren’t pleased, and they have the attention of Chief Tea Party Council President Steve Brandau who helped killed the fully funded BRT project, and has also eliminated every road diet proposal that comes his way. In his mind, everybody in Fresno is well-off, everybody drives, and everybody wants to live the suburban dream. After all, that’s what he wants, and so naturally, that’s all that matters. Throw in some free market voodoo, and you have yourself the developers best friend. Click to read more!

One week remains to comment on Fresno general plan update

All the information you need is on this page, but a quick summary here.

  • Last general plan update was November 2012
  • This proposed one is controversial because developers dislike how it mentions focusing on infill vs sprawl 
  • The draft General Plan is available for a 45-day public review period commencing on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 and ending on Monday, August 18, 2014

The middle point is why public comment may actually be important. Don’t let the developers sabotage the plan, let the city know you support infill development. 

Mind you, the developers have already managed to water it down:

“The Council’s modified (plan) shifted more development to
single-family housing and with more focus on growth west and southwest
of State Route 99, but maintained a strong commitment to Downtown and
major corridor revitalization, Complete Neighborhoods, and more compact
development.” Click to read more!

Chipping away at the Clovis trail system – again.

A few years ago, Clovis developed master plans for future residential areas of the city, namely the Harlan Ranch and Loma Vista areas. Both of these master plans required that all new development include a new trail system, and provide the necessary connections so that cyclists and pedestrians can use the trails for recreation and commuting.  Most developers comply with the requirements and build the trails. They realize that it’s an important asset that will increase the value of their property and make their new homes easier to sell. Residents who move in expect that the planned trails will materialize. Some developers, however, disagree. They care only about the shortest of terms, and request that the trail requirement be removed so that they can fit in one extra lot, or a larger backyard somewhere. Sadly, the city is usually quick to agree to these changes, even when the developer wants to block existing trail connections with a masonry wall..  This month, another developer is at it again, and is requesting that their new subdivision not include any trail at all. Like usual, the city is ok with it, even though once these homes are built, the missing trail will be all but impossible to build in the future.This type of policy not only hurts future residents, but current residents who bought their homes with expectations that the master plan will be followed.  Map showing the proposed trail link being eliminated, in the red bubble

 photo paseo1_zps39aa9086.jpg

Image showing the existing trail was planned to continue straight….now it will just end. Existing homes to the north will lose a planned amenity.  photo paseo2_zps0b8761b0.jpg That’s not all – in the master plan, this property was zoned for high density residential (15.1-25 units per acre) and the developer asked for the city to change the zoning to medium density (4.1-7 units per acre). Of course, they got that change. So the developer wants to build suburban housing instead of apartments, AND they want to eliminate the path requirement?  The item being discussed (PDF) goes before the planning commission on April 25th, which is open to the public if you want to speak against the change. Incidentally, if you look at the previous image, notice something….even though everything you see here, the roads, houses, sidewalks etc were all built within the past 8 years, it was done wrong. The crosswalks don’t connect. Three curb ramps point diagonally and one only points in one direction. In all cases, pedestrians and cyclists must leave the crosswalk and enter the center of the intersection to cross the road.

 photo paseo3_zpsc3448d05.jpg

Visalia votes for sprawl

The Fresno Bee reports that the Visalia City Council voted to move forward with an update to their growth plan. The update will divert focus from their downtown to new commercial strips on what is currently agricultural land.

I thought this quote was particularly amusing
Click to read more!

Important planning decision at city council meeting tonight

This merits a long and lengthy post, but I’ve no time at all, so I shall let some other sources speak to what is going on.

The Fresno City Council is to vote on the 2035 general plan as recommended by the planning commission. A long list of developers who depend on sprawl development to make all their money are lining up on one side, so it’s important to either attend the meeting or email the council-members asking them to oppose the developers and approve what the planning commission came up with (after months of community input). Click to read more!

Patio takeover of trail delayed, for now

The Bee has the some good news about last nights planning meeting concerning the proposed expansion of a restaurant onto the right-of-way of the Sugar Pine Trail.

Fresno’s planning commission on Wednesday rejected a proposal to allow a northeast Fresno restaurant to put a patio into part of the Sugar Pine Trail — but said the restaurant owner could return with a new proposal.

In rejecting the proposal by Yosemite Ranch owner David Fansler, commissioners asked the City Council to clarify when and how the city should allow shared use of public spaces. Click to read more!

Home builders betting on big 2012?

Nobody can predict what’s next for the economy. We can make educated guesses, but if anyone was able to predict with certainty what was going to happen next, they’d be a very wealthy person.

The last few months, we’ve heard the word “double-dip” a lot. With poor employment numbers (flat or insignificant gains), troubles in Europe, and a weak commercial market, many argue that this economy is about to head back down into recessionland. Others look at indicators that manage to remain just above positive, like auto sales, and predict that the worst is over, and 2012 will be a much better year for the economy. Click to read more!