Clovis took a key step toward expansion on its northeast side that city forecasters say could result in thousands of jobs over the next 15 years.
The area is generally bounded by Highway 168 to the west and north, Nees Avenue to the south and Del Rey Avenue to the east. It includes 64 individual pieces of property under ownership by 22 owners, totaling 1,035 acres. The Fresno County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, approved adding the area to the Clovis sphere of influence – one step toward the eventual annexation of the land into the Clovis city limits for zoning and approval of future development projects.
More than 500 acres of the land are already designated in the city’s general plan for business development, with another 325 acres for residential projects and 225 acres of parkland and open space.
Consultants for the city projected that by the time it is built out in 2035, the area could generate about 6,100 jobs.
“This is a huge opportunity for Clovis and the region to see significant quality job growth,” Clovis Mayor Drew Bessenger said in a written statement referring to collaboration between Clovis, Fresno and Fresno County over this and other sites around the city. “We have worked together as a region to make land available that can accommodate at least 10,000 jobs.”
Development plans a ‘long time coming’
A project overview provided by the city noted that plans for future commercial and residential development at the northeast edge of Clovis date to 1993. “This has been a long time coming,” said Andy Haussler, the city’s community and economic development director.
The number of jobs that ultimately arise from the northeast expansion will depend on what kinds of businesses choose to locate there – something that won’t be set until property owners bring specific development proposals forward to the city. And the timing of the future development is also uncertain. There is no set schedule for annexation of the area by the city.
Haussler said that even with the sphere of influence change, the city and property owners need to have imminent development plans for the area before annexation can happen. “That master plan details what goes where and includes an environmental plan,” he said. “This stuff takes time, and that’s appropriate given the scope of the development out there.”
Typically, coming up with a master plan is a process that can take a year or two, Haussler said, but the pace of progress “is all based on the demand for the development.” But, he added, “the property owners are highly motivated and so is the city.”