A plan that lays out the future neighborhoods of Clovis was approved Monday night by the City Council, despite fears from some rural residents that it won't adequately protect their land from urban intrusion.
Approval of the Clovis general plan map sets the stage for a study to examine how the blueprint for city growth over the next 20 to 30 years will affect water demands, air quality, traffic and other environmental effects. That study is expected to take at least a year.
The map covers about 48,000 acres in the city and adjacent county lands and shows how the land will be used in the future. 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.
Much of the growth is planned north and east of Shepherd and Willow avenues and east of the city's existing border near Clovis Community Medical Center and around Harlan Ranch.
Monday's approval came after a 21/2-hour hearing dominated by concerns over potential conflicts between city developments and rural neighbors.
Rural residents who live on large lots east of the city say a proposed open-space buffer of 100 feet is not wide enough to shield their homes from the housing tracts of smaller-lot homes that would be allowed under the new general plan.
Residents in the area of Highway 168 and Thompson Avenue said they wanted the city to offer a wider buffer of green space between city land and the rural area.
Greg Leisle, a Thompson Avenue resident, wants a buffer of 150 feet, down from the 200 feet he requested during previous meetings. Such a buffer would cover just 0.18% of developable acreage in the city's plan, he said.
City subdivisions will add more traffic and crowding to the rural areas now east of the city, but residents would like to maintain their lifestyle, said resident John Moore. A good plan, he said, is about "shielding them from us, not us from them."
The residents want to stay in the county, keep their chickens and continue to ride their all-terrain vehicles.
"We are never short of dirt and dust," Moore said.
The city Planning Commission and developers have supported a buffer of 100 feet.
The City Council didn't commit to a buffer width Monday night, but council members said they support keeping rural and urban areas clearly separated.
"I don't think there is a number of feet that is exactly the right answer," Council Member Lynne Ashbeck said.
Dirk Poeschel, who represents developers, said the citizens committee and Planning Commission both supported 100 feet because it made sense after several meetings and hours of discussion.
"One hundred feet is logical. It works," he said.
In other action, the council approved adding $1 million to the amount the city will contribute to build the new Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center at Temperance and Sierra avenues.
Costs for the project came in higher than expected, meaning the city's contribution will grow from $2.1 million to $3.1 million.
The city hopes to make up the difference with more cash contributions or in-kind donations of work and materials.