On Jan. 17, 2019, South Central Neighbors United (SCNU) claimed victory, as the City of Fresno voted to rescind the permits for the development of a massive industrial park in South Fresno. This move represents a decision by the city not to fight the lawsuit anymore. SCNU applauds this action because the project would have had a severe negative health impact on nearby neighborhoods–including homes directly across the street–and on the local school. With legal assistance provided by Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, SCNU filed a lawsuit against the city and developer Caglia Environmental for the illegal issuance of the permits without required environmental review and protection for the community. In fact, the Attorney General intervened on their side last year. As proposed, this project has no business in this neighborhood. The City of Fresno must respect the rights of South Central residents to a good and healthy quality of life, all while remaining in and enjoying their homes. Economic development and job creation is not mutually exclusive from a healthy and safe community — we see this in other parts of our city. This and other similar developments must be done in an inclusive, thoughtful and strategic way that benefits the residents of Fresno, not harms them. The proposed development is bad business and a neighborhood killer. Meanwhile, we must also use this decision to continue to hold the city accountable. In December 2018, the city struck an agreement to pay consultants more than $1 million to revise the city’s General Plan environmental impact report (EIR) and develop a new EIR to expedite and make legally defensible industrial development in parts of Southeast, South Central, West Fresno and Calwa under an ‘Industrial Priority Area Specific Plan.’ The city has not revealed the plan to the public or indicated that there will be any community engagement process in developing it. This is a critical opportunity to ask the new city council to include residents in any planning effort and ensure those efforts directly respond to residents’ goals and priorities.
Current Feature: A Win for South Fresno Residents
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