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Planning Director Claims 6,600-Home Development on Farmland Isn’t Sprawl

According to local officials the yellow star will be developed as a "live, work, play" area and will definitely not be sprawl. Map: Stop and Move

Building 6,600 homes on farmland outside city boundaries? Some might consider that the very definition of sprawl. But leaders in the Fresno region beg to differ.

James Sinclair at Network blog Stop and Move reports that Norm Allinder, the planning director for Madera County, told the Fresno Bee that such a development "doesn’t perpetuate the legacy of sprawl,” because it is "contiguous" and "a logical expansion for urban development." Wha?

Those homes are just the first round of 30,000 planned for unincorporated farmland outside Madera County. Sinclair pushes back against the claim that this isn't sprawl:

6,600 homes, starting off with 5,500 square foot lots, just off the highway, and surrounded with nothing but farmland.

Sprawl? Of course not, the planning director says so!“We want to create a place where you live, work and play,” he said, “a place where you don’t have to rely on your automobile.”

Of course! Just look at all the places one can go without an automobile!

This is the site where residents will "live, work and play" but mainly just live.

Single family homes, set inside winding, dead-end streets, all leading to larger arterials which in turn direct one to a state highway.

The future has truly arrived in Madera County.

Sinclair says this development is very similar to one he wrote about just weeks ago. So sprawl doesn't seem to be on its way out in Fresno, even if local leaders feel the need to condemn the land use patterns that they are facilitating.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington considers the wisdom of Baltimore's plan to tear down blocks of row houses. The Dallas Morning News' Transportation Blog reports TxDOT has found an additional $300 million to put into tackling urban congestion, and by that they mean widening highways -- good luck with that. And City Observatory expands on how highway construction tends to create more demand for highway driving.

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