Fresno General Plan and Development Code
Originally three square miles and home to 4,000 residents at the time of incorporation in 1885, Fresno has grown to be California’s fifth largest city, with a population of 520,000. A multicultural community, Fresno sits at the heart of a vibrant agricultural region, and is one of the initial stations planned for California’s High-Speed Rail system.
Working in partnership with City staff, Dyett & Bhatia prepared a new General Plan for the city, adopted December 2014. The plan links quality of life and economic stability to land-use decisions. It focuses on revitalizing Downtown Fresno as the city’s center, and creating smaller mixed-use “activity centers”, connected by bus rapid transit. The plan envisions these centers as complete neighborhoods, with ample services available within walking distance of residents, closing gaps in access to food, services, and amenities. The plan facilitates housing growth while protecting agricultural lands from encroachment; strategizes compact, sustainable development; and fosters the expansion of export-oriented sectors—particularly those that leverage the region’s strength in agriculture and food—via appropriate zoning and streamlined permit approval.
The plan maintains Fresno’s current boundaries, planning for almost an equal balance of infill and edge growth. Intensive land use and mixed-use development is intended
to support greater use of the planned bus-rapid transit system, and justify the necessary infrastructure and utility expansion to support more industry.
Following the General Plan, Dyett & Bhatia also prepared a comprehensive update of the city’s Zoning Ordinance, which combines form-based provisions for the downtown neighborhoods, with Euclidean and performance zoning concepts.