A favorite term in real estate appraisal is "highest and best use." Appraisal today of much of the bare land in this area would reveal that agriculture, per se, no longer qualifies as "highest and best" use. Poor soils, lack of adequate water, inadequate surface area, etc., ad infinitum. Historically, a "family farmer" could sustain his family rather well on 40-60 acres. Very few "family farmers" still exist today primarily because it is no longer possible to do so.
Insistence upon planning for Fresno to "grow up" instead of "out" would actually duplicate the current problems of the General Motors, Ford and Chrysler corporations, who have insisted on creating products for which there is a limited or declining market.
Real estate developers know that creating multi-story condominia in Fresno would create a product for which there is a very limited market. Surveys of "what people actually want" always reveal that a three-bedroom, two-bath, single-family home on a lot in suburbia is on top of that list.