By approving four subdivisions Monday night, the Clovis City Council paved the way for new small-lot homes to spring up around the city's southeast during the next few years.
The council supported zoning changes that will allow developers to build homes on smaller lots in the Loma Vista portion of the city, which eventually will be home to about 30,000.
Developers said smaller-lot homes are a popular product now because many more buyers can obtain financing for them. In addition, smaller lots will reduce urban sprawl and preserve farmland to meet state laws that will require higher density neighborhoods, council members and city staff said.
Overall, 841 homes were approved on 153 acres, an area that would have contained about 600 homes without the zoning change approval.
But not everyone supported the changes.
Residents living on larger lots near the proposed smaller-lot projects say they are worried about more traffic, crowding in nearby schools and potential effects on home values.
Dale Drozen said the city's initial zoning for homes in his neighborhood was similar to his larger-lot home. When that zoning was changed, the city in effect broke its promise to residents, he said.
Three small-lot subdivisions east of Drozen's home, which is south of Clovis East High School, will contain 645 homes on 120 acres. Under larger-lot zoning, there would have been a maximum of 470 homes.
"We feel we are being offered to the developers as a sacrifice," Drozen said.
Tom Miyaki, a longtime Clovis resident who served on an advisory committee to map out Loma Vista a decade ago, said he would be upset at the zoning change if he lived in a larger-lot home.
Ted Ikeda, who lives near Drozen, said he was concerned about issues that go with higher-density homes, such as crime and increased school crowding.
"I came to Clovis because of the nice homes, and it would be nice if the same kind of homes are being built," Ikeda said.
Developer Leo Wilson, who will build three of the four tracts approved by the council, said the quality of homes will continue to improve in order to meet state efficiency rules for water and energy.
City Council members were assured that the city's new sewage treatment and water plants can serve the new residents, even though the number of homes will exceed the original plans for those neighborhoods.
Council Members Bob Whalen and Lynne Ashbeck said the committee members who helped create the plans for Loma Vista should examine the way the area has grown and will evolve in the future.