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SEGA, El Paseo and the legacy of Sprawlzilla
Update: Last night the city council approved the environmental-impact report for phase one of the El Paseo project. The vote was 4-2 (can you guess who voted which way?) with Blong Xiong absent. The funny thing is: even the members who voted yes don't seem to support the project.
From the story: "This is not an easy decision," said [council member Andreas] Borgeas, who represents the district where the project is proposed. "It's not something I'm crazy about. ... I'm reluctant to move forward on this in any way beyond Phase One."
Question: Is approving phase one opening the floodgates on the project? If you're not behind it, why carry on with it at all?
Fresno loves our sprawl.
OK, maybe we don't love it, but we seem unable or unwilling to stop it, as evidenced by these two stories. The first deals with El Paseo, a new development in northwest Fresno (Herndon and 99-ish). The other deals with hearings on the SEGA (Southeast Growth Area) Plan.
The first is a classic example of Fresno's development strategy: built something shiny and new. Then, bound northward (in this case northwestward) to build something shiner and newer. And on and on. Read Bill McEwen's take.
The second is something that's new to Fresno. Longterm planning. The plan will set the path for how the area will be developed in the next two or three decades and it's come under attack. Which makes sense, in light of the current economic situation. The city doesn't know how it will get by from this year to the next, so why worry about something that might play out 30 years from now.
As Hostetter points out in his post, chaos can bring happy results. Yes, the 14 square miles of Ashlan-Maple-Nees-Palm come out great, but one has to wonder if it was the cost of downtown and Chinatown and a Blackstone Avenue that's full-up with strip malls.
* Thanks to Blake Jones for the photo.