The 2035 Fresno General Plan adopted by the City Council on December 18 puts the city's foot down on sprawl. Supporters see the approval as a major victory for Smart Growth principles, though it had critics on left and right.
A strong center/left coalition joined Mayor Ashley Swearengin in backing the plan, However, environmental justice and equity activists asked how strongly the plan would limit suburban expansion and who would benefit from infill development. They sought policies for affordable housing and against displacement, and attention to industrial polluters such as the notorious Darling International rendering plant southwest of downtown.
Meanwhile, local developers and small-government advocates questioned whether the plan would curtail property rights or lifestyle choices, and asked if people accustomed to suburban densities and private auto use would remain in Fresno if it meant accepting denser housing, especially in the stigmatized downtown area. Tea Party-oriented opponents recoiled at federal funding for projects such as bus rapid transit (BRT).