After two years in the making, a plan to guide Clovis' growth is going before the city's Planning Commission this week. But although it's been amended to accommodate rural homeowners, some say they're still not happy with the proposed Clovis general plan.
Much of the new growth is planned north and east of Shepherd and Willow avenues and east of the city's existing limits near Clovis Community Medical Center and around Harlan Ranch.
Rural residents who live east of the city are critical of a proposed open-space buffer between their homes and smaller new homes that would be permitted in the new general plan.
They are concerned that the smaller sites would mean more traffic and more crowds, which would interfere with the lifestyle they've enjoyed for decades on their large country lots.
And they plan to voice their objections Thursday night when the land-use plan is up for a public hearing before the Planning Commission.
The Clovis general plan, a blueprint for city growth over the next 20 to 30 years, covers about 48,000 acres and contains existing city areas and adjacent lands in unincorporated Fresno County. The area is bounded by Copper Avenue to the north, Academy Avenue to the east, Dakota Avenue and Gould Canal on the south, and Willow Avenue to the west.
If approved by the Planning Commission on Thursday, the massive land-use plan goes before the City Council on Feb. 13.
Over two years ago, the city created the growth plan and then handed it off for study by a citizens committee, which met with developers and residents to review the proposal.
The most vocal opponents were about 30 rural homeowners near Thompson Avenue and Highway 168, east of Clovis Community Medical Center.
Residents want a wider buffer than the 100 feet proposed in the plan, said Greg Leisle, the neighborhood's spokesman.
In a general plan approved in 1993, Leisle said, the city mapped out a buffer of about 1,200 feet to separate urban-styled homes from rural homes in his area.
Today, residents acknowledge that such a buffer isn't feasible. Instead, Leisle said he and his neighbors want 200 feet of landscaped open space and lower-density homes next to the buffer.
Leisle said he and his neighbors expect the city to "continue to respect our rural way of life."
Developers say they already have compromised to accommodate the homeowners. Dirk Poeschel, who represents property owners planning to build homes and business centers east of Clovis, said his clients were in favor of widening the landscaped buffer from 85 feet -- the width originally proposed by the city -- to 100 feet.
He said a similar buffer along Shaw Avenue in front of the Quail Lake subdivision keeps home development from intruding on neighboring rural properties to the north.
Poeschel said his clients didn't know Leisle's group wanted a wider buffer.
"We thought they would be happy with 100 feet," he said.