Documented by Josef Sibala
Here’s what you need to know:
- During its Thursday meeting, the Fresno County Planning Commission conducted a workshop regarding the General Plan Review and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance Update including proposed revisions to the General Plan Policy Document and reformatting and revisions to the County Zoning Ordinance.
- Development Services and Capital Projects Manager Chris Motta said that the 2023 General Plan Update includes two future study areas for a Fresno County Business and Industrial Campus, and a 7,000-acre development area in eastern Fresno County for a potential educational-based community.
- Motta stated that key changes to the General Plan include extending the planning period to 2042, adding updates to address environmental justice (Senate Bill 1000 and Assembly Bill 1528), and an improved Safety Element to address climate hazards, vulnerability, and emergency evacuation.
- How will the commission address and implement environmental justice?
- What will be the outcome regarding study areas for a Fresno County Business and Industrial Campus for a potential educational-based community?
The Fresno County Planning Commission has jurisdiction, powers, and duties to do all things related to local and area planning as may be conferred to it by the government code or which has been delegated to it by the board of supervisors.
The commission’s duties include considering and approving applications for land subdivisions, variances, and conditional use permits and recommending issues concerning zoning and the county’s general plan to the board of supervisors.
Fresno County Planning Commissioners present:
- Ken Abrahamian (Chairman)
- Glenda Hill (Vice Chair)
- Esther Carver District 3
- John Arabian District 5
- Blake Zante At Large
- Austin Ewell District 2
- Kuldip Chatha District 4
- Lisa Woolf
- James Quist
Fresno County Planning Commissioners not present:
- Esther Carver District 3
- Mohammad Khorsand
- Development Services and Capital Projects Manager Chris Motta
- Alyce Alvarez
- Marc Benjamin
- William Kelter
- Joseph Potthast
- Jeremy Shaw
- Planner Elliot Racusin
- Susan Peron
- Elvia Lopez from Central Valley Engineering & Surveying
- Cristina Gomez
- Rosemary Cordero
- Dale Mell
- Ejaz Ahmad
- Marissa Jensen
- Melanie Halajian
- Reymundo Peraza
- Ruth Mendyk
- Jordan Walton
The consent agenda consists of:
1. Public Presentation
2. The commission conducted a workshop regarding the General Plan Review and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance Update including proposed revisions to the General Plan Policy Document and reformatting and revisions to the County Zoning Ordinance.
Development Services and Capital Projects Manager Chris Motta stated that the General Plan is the document that outlines the County’s plan for achieving a long-term vision for the future.
It provides guiding goals and policies for land use decisions in the County and informs stakeholders on the County’s policies and programs for development within the unincorporated areas of the County and is designed to meet State General Plan requirements.
Fresno County’s General Plan has a planning horizon of 15 to 25 years. Fresno County began the review process of the current General Plan in 2006, when it selected a team of consultants to assist the County in its update effort.
The General Plan Review seeks to modernize the 2000 General Plan document and bring the document into compliance with various state laws that have been enacted since 2000.
The General Plan Policy Document is a high-level document that sets the framework for other, more community or area-specific, planning documents.
The General Plan sets out a vision reflected in goals, policies, programs, and diagrams for Fresno County.
The County sees its primary role to be the protector of prime agricultural lands, open space, recreational opportunities, and environmental quality, and the coordinator of countywide efforts to promote economic development.
The General Plan is built on the following thirteen major themes:
1. Economic Development
2. Agricultural Land Protection
3. Growth Accommodation
4. Urban-Centered Growth
5. Efficient and Functional Land Use Patterns
6. Service Efficiency
7. Recreation Development
8. Resource Protection
9. Health and Safety Protection
10. Health and Well-Being
11. Enhanced Quality of Life
12. Affordable Housing
13. Environmental Justice (added with the General Plan Review)
The 2023 General Plan Review carries forward those same themes identified in the 2000 General Plan, with the addition of an Environmental Justice Element which contains new policies and implementation programs.
Following these themes, there are eight topical elements of the General Plan that set out its goals and policies.
For Fresno County, these elements are:
- Economic Development
- Agriculture and Land Use
- Transportation and Circulation
- Public Facilities and Services
- Open Space and Conservation
- Health and Safety
- Environmental Justice (proposed with the current General Plan Review)
- Housing (Adopted March 15, 2016, as a separate document, and currently being updated separately from this project).
Key changes to the general plan include extending the Planning Period to 2042, adding updates to address environmental justice (Senate Bill 1000 and Assembly Bill 1528), and an improved Safety Element to address climate hazards, vulnerability, and emergency evacuation.
There is also added analysis and policies related specifically to air quality.
Finally, the 2023 document includes reference to two future study areas for a Fresno County Business and Industrial Campus, and a 7,000-acre development area in eastern Fresno County for a potential educational-based community.
Policies in the General Plan will influence (impact) future Community Plan updates.
More recently, since Board direction to prepare an Environmental Impact Report, there have been several workshops and community meetings that have occurred since 2018.
Specifically, 30 meetings or workshops have occurred including workshops associated with the Disadvantaged Unincorporated Community analysis as required by Senate Bill 244.
Motta said that the county is focusing environmental justice on the General Plan.
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m. The Fresno County Planning Commission is scheduled to meet again at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 23.
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