Here’s what you need to know

  • The Fresno City Council met on October 13, 2022 and voted 7-0 to rezone 25% of a 92.5, 15-parcel site in southwest Fresno from neighborhood mixed-use to light industrial use. According to this article, the council also tasked Jennifer Clark, the city’s director of planning and development, to meet with the community and business owners to come up with an overlay plan that would be acceptable within 90 days. 
  • In a vote of 6-1, the Fresno City Council approved a rezone for 18.9 acres of property located on the southeast corner of South West and West Church Avenues for Busseto Foods. They authorized amendments to the Fresno General Plan and Southwest Fresno Specific Plan to change the planned land use designation for the subject property from Residential – Medium Density to Employment – Light Industrial.
  • They also voted 6-1 to increase the density in all districts where mixed-use development may occur. 

Follow-up questions:

  • What will happen with the remaining 75% of the 92.5 acres up for potential rezone? 
  • What plans will the Associated Design & Engineering Inc. take to ensure that southwest residents will not face both traffic and/or safety consequences with its ongoing construction?
The Fresno City Council voted to increase density in all districts where mixed-use development is permitted, the location of the Busseto food plant in southwest Fresno and partially approved rezoning a larger parcel to light industrial.

The Scene

The Fresno City Council meeting was called to order at 9:08 a.m. on October 13, 2022. The meeting took place at the Fresno City Hall on 2600 Fresno Street. It was also available via Zoom and CMAC. The agenda was made accessible to the public online.
Councilmember Esmeralda Z. Soria led the pledge of allegiance. 

The Officials

President, Nelson Esparza, District 7 

Vice President, Tyler Maxwell, District 4 

Councilmember, Esmeralda Z. Soria, District 1 

Councilmember, Mike Karbassi, District 2 

Councilmember, Miguel Angel Arias, District 3 

Councilmember, Luis Chavez, District 5 

Councilmember, Garry Bredefeld, District 6 


  • Proclamation for “National Mental Illness Awareness Week”
  • Presented by Councilmember Soria to raise awareness of the rise in mental health issues that increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Dr. Michelle Gonzales, an advocate for mental health, held a portrait of her deceased son Dajon Reed. She celebrates the life of Dajon and encourages other parents to seek help for their children who are struggling with mental health issues.
  • Proclamation for “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”
    • Bryce Herrera, Dr. Kenneth Hansen, and Ron Goode, a member from the Mono tribe, was acknowledged and recognized by President Nelson Esparaza in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
    • On the 45th year anniversary of its celebration, the City of Fresno proclaims October 13th as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
    • The day was celebrated outside of the Fresno City Hall days prior.
  • Proclamation for “Code Enforcement Appreciation Week”
    • President Esparaza showed his appreciation for the Code Enforcement staff and his colleagues. 
    • The Code Enforcement division helps enforces safety and livability requirements from public nuisance to zoning in Fresno.  
    • Mayor Jerry Dyer was also present and gave a speech to thank the Code Enforcement officers for helping Fresno maintain a safe environment. 
    • All the Code Enforcement was present to accept the proclamation.
  • Proclamation for “Disability Awareness Month” and announcing “Disabilities Advisory Commission Awardees”.
    • Mayor Jerry Dyer and the City Manager present the proclamation to the advocates.
    • “Regardless of who we are and where we come from, we should respect one another, regardless of gender, race, political party, or even your disabilities,” said Jerry Dyer, Mayor of Fresno. 
    • The Valley Center For the Blind (VCB) and its members were present to accept the proclamation. 
    • “People living with vision loss or disabilities are looking for a purpose-filled life. We are honored to contribute to that and we love to create communities for people you love who are living with disabilities,” said Shellena Heber,  Executive Director, Valley Center for the Blinds. “We celebrate their contributions to our nation.”
  • Proclamation for Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month
    • Mayor Jerry Dyer and the City Manager present the proclamation to the group. This year marks the 129th Year Anniversary of the Introduction of Hindus in the United States. 
    • “We open our arms for all of you, especially those of you who face persecution,” said Jerry Dyer, Mayor of Fresno. 
    • “On behalf of the Hindu community, we are truly honored to be recognized by the city of Fresno,” said Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor, Professor at Fresno State. “We are doctors, businessmen, and professors who have and continue to make contributions of the social-economic life of Fresno.”
    • The Hindu-American community also presented Mayor Jerry Dyer with a pendant. 


  • Councilmember Arias shares that the Tower Theatre is now available for community usage through arrangements. 
  • Councilmember Soria invites communities to the Fall Festival, an annual tradition that will occur in October. 
  • Council Vice President Maxwell congratulates a friend, Lowell Ens, EPU executive director, who celebrated their 45-year anniversary for their work done for children with learning disabilities. Recognized ACI President Caroline Alvarez at Fresno State. Acknowledges Blong Xiong for being appointed by President Biden. 
  • President Esparaza shares that the campus and Code Enforcement waste event acquired more than 1,000 tires in the city. Encourages the community to attend the Big Fresno Fair; this year marks its 139th year. Esparza attended the Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration, which took place outside of the Fresno City Hall on Monday. 
  • City Manager Georgeanne White acknowledges Fresno Irrigation District (FID) for cleaning up the canal area. 

Public Comments:

  • Michael Matthew and his wife held two meetings in the neighborhood to notify them about the Mill canal issues that includes flows and dangerous banks. There were 22 notices. 
  • Todd Blanco, a Fresno resident, is concerned about what’s going to happen to his Second Amendment rights for recreational gun usage. He shares statistics from 2021 in which 1,100 homicides took place in the city, in comparison to 71 homicides in the county. 
  • Terry, who was once a resident of Fresno, but now an Oakland resident and a (Maintenance Superintendent of Oakland) Fundraiser at Fresno Boys & Girls Club. Working to raise funds and keep West Fresno a safer community. 
  • Paul Elizondo, expresses that the biggest problem today in Fresno is the lack of leadership. 
  • Esther Hensley speaks on behalf of Southwest Fresno, resident for over 76 years, says that “Southwest is ugly.” She adds that gas prices have increased drastically, making traveling costs high to reach stores across town an even greater burden on residents.
  • Jerome Kitchen, a resident of the 93706 area, shares that Rashad Akim, an honor student of Hoover High School was killed in a hit and run on October 4. Jerome is seeking answers from law enforcement. He shares that Rashad’s mother was only given few details from the one-time contact with police. Kitchen asks for thorough/transparent investigations from law enforcement in the future. He shared that he drove past the scene days ago, when he noticed that no school zone signs and speed limits were made visible to drivers in the area. He also shares that there is reckless driving on the streets near Hoover High School.
  • Daniel Brannick shares the process of refining West of 99, which has been developing since 2018, also known as “The Forgotten Fresno ”. Brannick shares that there is a lack of parks, grocery stores, and restaurants. He believes that the area is eligible for grant funding and says West Fresno can become a successful, fully-developed community with the funding.
  • Kathy Campos: Campos has worked in the West Fresno Area for four years. The delay of the vote continues to delay the process of rebuilding the Forgotten Fresno. Currently, there are three convenience stores. West Fresno also currently has 200 parking spots, which are filled with trucks, a hazard to the community. Campos shares that there is no health care in most of the area in the West. “If we don’t allow plans to go forward, we will lose the opportunity.” 
  • Brenda Quispe, Anna Wells, Pedro Navarro Cruz speak in support of and ask for more information on the Family Unification Voucher Program (FUP) for the benefits of children.
  • Dez Martinez said she is concerned about the safety of youth attending the Step-up who cross at the intersection. She shares that on October 3 she witnessed an incident with Fresno Police Officers attacking residents who wouldn’t leave a property. 

Actions (Continued):

  • Item 10:00 AM #1 – ID 22-1595: Consideration of Development Code Text Amendment Application No. P22-02413 and related Environmental Finding for Environmental Assessment No. P22-02413, amending Tables 15-1102, 15-1103, 15-1202, 15-1203, and Section 15-1104 of the Fresno Municipal Code and adding Section 15-1106 to the Fresno Municipal Code, and corresponding General Plan Text Amendment relating to mixed-use development:
    • Voting: 6-1
      • President, Nelson Esparza: Yes
      • Vice President, Tyler Maxwell: Yes
      • Councilmember, Esmeralda Z. Soria: Yes
      • Councilmember, Mike Karbassi: No
      • Councilmember, Miguel Angel Arias: Yes
      • Councilmember, Luis Chavez: Yes
      • Councilmember, Garry Bredefeld: Yes
  • Item 10:00 AM #2: ID 22-1598: Consider Plan Amendment and Rezone Application No. P20-04209, Development Permit Application No. P20-04211, and related Environmental Assessment No. P20-04209/P20-04211 pertaining to 18.9 acres of property located on the southeast corner of South West and West Church Avenues (Council District 3). ADOPT the Negative Declaration as prepared for Environmental Assessment No. Requesting authorization to amend the Fresno General Plan and Southwest Fresno Specific Plan to change the planned land use designation for the subject property from Residential – Medium Density to Employment – Light Industrial. 
    • Brunette: A Southwest resident speaks on the community’s objection – goes from Central past Highway 180 – The plan has been effective since 1969 in which a book was written. She says that the community has never been involved.
    • Lilly Poncatti: A Southwest resident expresses that she is opposed to the plan. She includes that the plan is easier for those outside of their residency to vote and make judgments. because they are not aware of the information included in the book of South West Fresno’s history. 
    • Ivanka Saunders: A Southwest resident says the city violates the SB330 housing crisis of removing single-family homes. 
    • Councilmember Karbassi: In light of what happened in Los Angeles where the voices were taken away from Armenian and Black communities, Karbassi says he will not be in support of the item. He includes that the item raises a red flag. 
    • Councilmember Arias: “Engagement is encouraged when you are making changes in communities.” Single-family homes are being built, but the homeowners are being hand-picked. Arias says it will be a challenge to support this project. The $250 million will not only be building environmental-friendly facilities, but it will also be fully funded. The project is an example that will show what the rest of Fresno should be. 
    • Councilmember Soria questions why houses are being developed near rendering plans. Soria believes that the corner should be clear of housing.
      • Voting 6-1: 
        • President, Nelson Esparza: Yes
        • Vice President, Tyler Maxwell: Yes
        • Councilmember, Esmeralda Z. Soria: Yes
        • Councilmember, Mike Karbassi: No
        • Councilmember, Miguel Angel Arias: Yes
        • Councilmember, Luis Chavez: Yes
        • Councilmember, Garry Bredefeld: Yes

The meeting adjourned at 12:32 p.m. for a lunch break. The remainder of the meeting is not captured in these notes, but according to this article, the council voted 7-0 to rezone 25% of 92.5-acre, 15-parcel site in southwest Fresno from neighborhood mixed use zoning to light industrial use.  

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2022. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.