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City Hall announced the 17 people Thursday who are charged with taking a second look at Fresno’s plan for guiding development through 2035.

The committee includes a mix of developers, business leaders, planners, and advocates for people in Fresno’s impoverished neighborhoods.

portrait of patience milrod

“I’m looking forward to working with the other committee members, in a fact-driven process, to ensure Fresno’s land use planning promotes the health and stability in all neighborhoods that’s so essential to prosperity and well-being for every single family in this city.” — Patience Milrod, executive director of Central California Legal Services

One of the appointees is Patience Milrod. She was selected by councilman Nelson Esparza. His district runs through the heart of the city and he opposed the committee’s formation, saying it was premature.

“I’m looking forward to working with the other committee members, in a fact-driven process, to ensure Fresno’s land use planning promotes the health and stability in all neighborhoods that’s so essential to prosperity and well-being for every single family in this city,” said Milrod, who is executive director of Central California Legal Services.

Northeast Fresno councilman Garry Bredefeld appointed builder Josh Peterson to the group.

“It is my goal to work with all stakeholders to create a revised General Plan that brings long term success to the city of Fresno,” said Peterson, who is the owner and president of Wathen-Castanos Homes. “The current General Plan has pushed development to neighboring cities and counties and placed Fresno at a disadvantage.  It is my goal to remedy this in the future.”

Why the Committee Was Created

Councilman Luis Chavez urged the creation of the committee. Its assignment is to help form revisions to the 2035 General Plan, which was approved in 2014 with a goal of ending urban sprawl.

“The city of Fresno needs to build. Everything needs to be on the table.” — councilman Luis Chavez

Chavez said that the plan’s emphasis on in-fill development has stifled market-rate and affordable housing. As a result, builders are instead doing projects in Clovis, Sanger, and Madera County.

The plan projected that 76,000 homes would be built during the first 10 years. But only 7,331 building permits were issued from 2014 through 2018.

“The city of Fresno needs to build,” said Chavez, who represents southeast Fresno. “Everything needs to be on the table.”

The council approved the formation of the review committee in December. Each council member chose two members, with the mayor given three selections. The group is slated to meet at least twice a month, although the first meeting has not been scheduled.

Darius Assemi was appointed to the group by Bredefeld. Assemi, who is CEO/president of Granville Homes, publishes GV Wire.

Mayor, Council Happy with Picks

“It looks like a balanced committee. It’s going to be a good mix,” said councilman Miguel Arias, the southwest Fresno representative. “I hope they give us an honest assessment.”

Chavez agreed.

“It has a good balance with good points of view,” Chavez said.

Mayor Lee Brand noted that his picks — Lorraine Salazar, Wayne Rutledge, and Cary Catalano — provide a wealth of experience.

“This process is crucial to the growth of our city and I’m honored that they have volunteered their time and expertise to help Fresno rebuild its urban core while providing affordable housing opportunities in every community,” Brand said.

Committee Members

Name Position Appointed by
Lorraine Salazar Owner, Sal’s Mexican Restaurants Mayor Lee Brand
Wayne Rutledge CEO, RH Community Builders, and Uncle Harry’s New York Bagelry Mayor Lee Brand
Cary Catalano Founder, Catalano Fenske & Associates Mayor Lee Brand
Daniel Brannick Odell Planning and Research Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, District 1
Mariah Thompson Central Valley Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, District 1
Sal Gonzalez Lance-Kashian Company Councilman Mike Karbassi, District 2
Gary Giannetta Giannetta Engineering Councilman Mike Karbassi, District 2
Don Simmons Social Sciences Lecturer at Fresno State Councilman Miguel Arias, District 3
Grecia Elenes Leadership Counsel Councilman Miguel Arias, District 3
DeWayne Zinkin Zinkin Development Councilman Paul Caprioglio, District 4
Jeffrey Roberts Assemi Group, Inc. Councilman Paul Caprioglio, District 4
Nick Yovino Sr. Former Fresno development director Councilman Luis Chavez, District 5
Joe White Jackson Community Development Corporation Councilman Luis Chavez, District 5
Darius Assemi President/CEO, Granville Homes Councilman Garry Bredefeld, District 6
Josh Peterson Wathen-Castanos Homes Councilman Garry Bredefeld, District 6
Patience Milrod Central California Legal Services Councilman Nelson Esparza, District 7
Keith Bergthold Fresno Metro Ministry Councilman Nelson Esparza, District 7

 

One Response

  1. Jerry Duncan

    Nelson Esparza needs to quit smoking pot. He has clearly damaged to many brain cells with those picks.

    Reply

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