Fresno, California plans multi-decade revitalization for post-industrial Westside

In a unanimous vote, the Fresno, California city council plans to attract new businesses, create more green space, and build more housing on the Westside.

City council agreed to change land use in the area by rezoning industrial areas to office zoning to create economic growth. it’s a plan to revitalize the Westside that will span decades and it’s called the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan.

I think that this plan is a game changer for this community, the one thing the Westside is lacking is opportunity and this plan will change that” said local official Eric Payne.

Initially agricultural land, Southwest Fresno has gradually transitioned with more residential, industrial, and commercial uses sprinkled throughout. Today, Southwest Fresno is made up of a patchwork of land uses that abut each other, such as existing subdivisions, industry, and farmland. Many pockets of residential land uses are adjacent to vacant land, agriculture, and/or industrial uses.

Incompatible land uses are located near one another, including truck routes, noise or odor-producing industrial facilities, and land with hazardous materials. The area within the City’s SOI contains a significant amount of vacant land that is residentially designated, but the area has not yet exhibited much market demand to develop typical suburban neighborhoods with desired commercial and retail services.

Guiding principles of revitalization plan:

  1. Existing residential properties in the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan are assumed to remain residential. Uses other than existing residential are subject to change. This principle assures community members that the Draft Preferred Alternative does not propose to change the use of their property or other nearby properties on existing residential streets.
  2. In general, locate higher intensity uses in magnet cores and along corridors, while allowing the rest of the area to have a residential neighborhood focus. In the Draft Preferred Alternative, higher intensity uses, including higher density housing, are focused within magnet cores and along the corridors (see Figures 2 and 3). To balance the overall development buildout and create more single-family housing, some land outside of the magnet cores and corridors would be planned and zoned to a lower density residential use, especially in the SOI lands.
  3. Create two magnet cores that would attract a significant amount of new development and would accommodate regional retail stores, educational and/or medical facilities, and a range of housing types. The proposed locations for magnet cores in the Draft Preferred Alternative will serve different parts of Southwest Fresno and would be accessible to regional travelers. The southern magnet core is proposed between Jensen and Church Avenues, west of MLK Jr. Boulevard (see Figure 2). This area is identified as the “MLK Activity Center” in the General Plan and proposes a regional shopping center and higher density neighborhood district. The community and Steering Committee would prefer to include an educational use in this area, particularly a community college campus. While it is not certain that a community college campus in Southwest Fresno will be funded and built, there has been discussion about this possibility with the State Center Community College District’s Board. Other uses could also serve as magnet uses to attract development, including large-scale retail, medical clinics or campuses. The Draft Preferred Alternative proposes a set of flexible uses at this location to
    accommodate any of these uses.

Photo credit: JMora24 via Wikipedia

See Your Central Valley article & news video by Gregory Woods.

See full revitalization plan (PDF).

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