Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 25, 2010

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of the greatest uppers of living in a democratic society is the opportunity to freely elect those whom we wish to serve us at various governmental levels. One of the downers is that for the next ten months we shall be bombarded with political pleas of support from various candidates for office. I offer the following as a litmus test in determining our selections as we progress through the many upcoming campaigns. Does the person seeking our vote subscribe to our Community Values? Is that individual a “my way or no way” moat surrounded castle dweller or a “together we can” community builder? Would that person be a welcome member of this Business Council? Just curious!

Downtown Is Everybody’s Neighborhood
Downtown revitalization has been a priority for many organizations for years. Success requires leadership, clarity of purpose, broad community support, talent, relentless perseverance, and resources. Are we ready?

The following is a message from our downtown revitalization manager, Elliot Balch: “On Thursday, January 28, at 9:15 am, the City Council will consider approving a contract to create new laws for development in the Downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods. Why are these new laws, known as the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan and the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan, necessary? Because the current laws are confusing, unclear, contradictory, out of date, and often counterproductive. It's the current laws that have caused frustration among Downtown developers, and allowed poorly designed development to harm some of our best older neighborhoods. It's the current laws that are costing builders thousands of extra dollars and months of extra time for every project. By discouraging investment and driving down property values, outdated planning laws today are costing the City millions of dollars in property tax revenue each year, not to mention preventing the revitalization of our downtown and perpetuating the concentration of poverty in surrounding neighborhoods.

Dozens of cities across the country have made their downtowns the easiest places to develop by adopting Specific Plans that provide more appropriate land use laws. More and more cities are adopting new zoning codes that set clear standards to protect older neighborhoods. The best Plans involve the community heavily so that the new laws reflect their vision for the future. And it will all happen in Fresno -- if the Council votes on January 28 to get the process of creating the new Downtown Plans going. There are several ways to get involved:

• Come to the City Council hearing on Thursday, January 28, 2009, at around
9:15 a.m. You can just watch, or speak up during the public comment period.

• Tell us if you support the Downtown Plans at By giving us your email address, you'll also be signed up to receive updates as the Plans are developed, plus other news from the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department.

• Tell your City Council representative how you feel. Call (559) 621-8000 to speak to staff for your Council Member about the contract for the Downtown Plans.

• After contract approval, look for updates at
We'll be posting news of upcoming Plan-related meetings and events, especially those where the community is invited to come help make important decisions. We will also post images and documents for public review.”

For more information go to, or call 559.621.8350

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