Development and Resource Management

Long-Range Plans and the Development Code

Long-Range Plans and the Development Code

The City of Fresno uses a variety of long-range plans to chart a successful future for Fresno. Some plans look at the entire city, while others may focus on a district or neighborhood. The Development Code (aka Zoning Ordinance) implements the land use component of these plans by regulating the development of property into houses, apartments, shopping centers, and mixed use neighborhoods as envisioned in the long range-plans.

General Plan

California State Law requires every city and county to adopt a comprehensive General Plan to guide its future development. The General Plan essentially serves as a “constitution for development”— the document that serves as the foundation for all land use decisions. Every jurisdiction’s General Plan includes seven required “Elements” that are mandated by State law; local governments may adopt additional optional Elements to address local priorities and planning goals.

The Fresno General Plan was adopted on December 18, 2014. It is forward‐looking, comprehensive, and long‐range. It supports the community’s vision to preserve the desirable qualities that make the city of Fresno an ideal place to live, work, and play. The Plan recommends strategies to address prevalent existing conditions and trends that impede achieving and maintaining greater human, community, environmental, and economic health and prosperity. The Plan envisions Fresno as a vibrant, growing city, infused with a sense of heritage and community.

The Plan describes a balanced city with an appropriate proportion of its growth and reinvestment focused in the central core, Downtown, established neighborhoods, and along Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors. A successful and vibrant Downtown is necessary to attract investment needed for infill development and rehabilitation of established neighborhoods, which are priorities for the Plan.

Balancing a vibrant Downtown will be self‐sufficient suburban Development Areas. This will result in a city with a revitalized Downtown and established neighborhoods and with livable new suburban neighborhoods supporting one another.

Entire Plan

By Chapter


Citywide Development Code

On December 3, 2015, the City of Fresno adopted a new Development Code. This code replaced the former code in its entirety. It establishes new zone districts, permitted uses, development standards, and procedures in a contemporary, well-organized, and comprehensive manner.
Download complete Code

Download individual sections:
Part I: General Provisions
Part II: Base and Overlay Districts
Part III: Regulations Applying to Some or All Districts
Part IV: Land Divisions
Part V: Administration
Part VI: General Terms and Definitions
(Please note that Sections 15-1004-E, 15-1005, 15-1104-F, and 15-1105 are not in effect until March 6, 2016.)


Why Was the Development Code Updated?

Like most cities, Fresno has a Development Code, also known as the Zoning Ordinance. The Code is the DNA of the city. It provides rules for development which ensure that Fresno’s growth will take place in an attractive, orderly manner. What parts of the city should have housing, and where are retail businesses allowed? Where can they be mixed together? The Development Code establishes these rules.
In December of 2014, the City Council adopted a new General Plan, which is the grand vision for Fresno’s next twenty years. Normally, the Development Code is an essential tool for implementing this vision, but the former Code had not been updated since the early 1960s and didn’t reflect the fact that tastes and needs have changed over the past five decades. Although there had been several piecemeal efforts to make modifications to the 1962 Code, such amendments resulted in a fragmented code that was difficult to comprehend. A fresh start was needed in order to implement the new vision.

The new code reflects contemporary planning and business practices and sets clear, but fair, criteria for new development. Proposals that conform to the new vision will have a streamlined approval process, which will boost economic development. In addition, infill has never been as feasible in Fresno as it will be under the new Development Code, ensuring that we have balanced growth in the coming years.

For more information on why the Code was updated and how the new Code works, see the User’s Guide to the New Development Code .

The Adoption Process and Associated Materials

Preliminary work on the new Code began in 2010. City staff, consultants, and local stakeholders worked for several years to construct a draft that would achieve the vision of the General Plan, meet local market conditions, would be far easier to use than the old Code. On March 31, 2015 the Public Review Draft of the new Development Code was released. The public comment period was open until June 1. During this period, the City received more than 40 comment letters with over 400 individual suggestions. Staff assessed all of them and incorporated many into the Planning Commission and City Council Review Draft, which was released on September 11, 2015 (Clean Version | Redline Version ).

Click on the following links for additional materials which were released with the September 11 draft to help explain a) how the new Development Code will work and b) what had changed since the March 31 Public Review Draft.

Valley Code Comparison
Response to Comments
Summary of Major Changes

The Planning Commission held a hearing on September 30, 2015 and recommended approval of the draft with changes .

The City Council held workshops on the Code on November 3 and 12. A hearing to receive public comment was held on the evening of November 12. The Code was considered by the Council and approved for introduction on November 19. The second reading and adoption of the Code was December 3rd.

During the November 19 hearing, the Council tabled sections 15-1004-E, 15-1005, 15-1104-F, and 15-1105 with instruction to revise and reintroduce them within 30 days. The sections were brought back before the Council on December 17 where they were continued to a future hearing.

On December 3, changes were made by the Council to sections 15-1102 (small scale entertainment in the Neighborhood Mixed-Use district), 15-2741, Mobile Vendors, and 15-2750, Recycling Facilities. These changes were adopted on their second reading on December 17, 2015.

Update to Exhibit D: Revisions – November 18, 2015
City Council Review Draft Redline – November 9, 2015

Additional Information

For additional information, send email to or call (559) 621-8003.

Downtown Plans and Code


Downtown Fresno transforming
For several years local and national experts have been working with elected officials and residents to craft and implement plans for the renaissance of Downtown Fresno and the surrounding neighborhoods. Fresno’s historic development patterns and current market conditions, as well as best practices from across the nation, were explored in depth in order to find the best way forward. The result is four comprehensive documents that will guide us to a revival of the heart of our city. The Downtown Plans and Code were adopted in October of 2016.

The Fulton Corridor Specific Plan presents an exciting vision for the heart of the city and a comprehensive program of projects, which will make that vision a reality.
The Fulton Corridor Specific Plan

The Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan assesses the conditions in several neighborhoods near Downtown and explores ways that they can be revitalized.
The Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan

The Downtown Development Code implements the vision of the two above plans by creating new regulations for private development. In the Downtown core, a form-based code is utilized which focuses on creating dense and attractive urban buildings that shape pleasing public spaces. In the neighborhoods, major streets are envisioned to transform into walkable mixed-use, multi-modal corridors, while residential areas will be preserved and enhanced with complimentary infill projects guided by the code.
The Downtown Development Code

View a zoning comparison map: compares Downtown’s new zoning with the former regulations

The Environment Impact Report assesses the plans and code subject to the California Environment Quality Act.
The Environment Impact Report (34 MB)

1 – Title Page
2 – Environment Impact Report Table of Contents
A – Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan
B – Fulton Corridor Specific Plan
C – Downtown Development Code
D – NOP and Scoping Comments
E – Air Quality
F – Biological Resources Inventory Results
G – Greenhouse Gas
H – Hazards
I – Noise Modeling
J – Traffic Data
K – Utility Technical Report


Additional Information
For additional information, send an email to or call (559) 621-8003.

Neighborhood Plans

There are two Neighborhood Plans in Fresno. One is El Dorado Park near Fresno State, and the other is Pinedale near River Park
Pinedale Neighborhood Plan
El Dorado Park Neighborhood Plan

Master Environmental Impact Report

Entire Plan
Entire MEIR

Draft MEIR Sections
MEIR Table of Contents | MEIR Introduction | Executive Summary | Project Description | General Environmental Settings | Environmental Impact Analysis | Aesthetics | Agricultural | MEIR Air Quality | Biological Resources | Cultural Resources | Geology & Soils | Greenhouse Gases | Hazards & Hazardous Materials | Hydrology & Water Quality | Land Use | Noise | Population and Housing | Public Services | Transportation | Utilities MEIR | Energy | Other CEQA | Alternatives | Effects Found Not to be Significant | Information Resources

Draft MEIR Appendices
Appendix A – Notice of Preparation and Scoping – A-1 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study | A-2 Public Notice of NOP and Scoping Meeting | A-3 Comments Received on Notice of Preparation and Initial Study | A-4 Scoping Meeting Sign-In Sheet | A-5 Scoping Meeting Transcript

Appendix B – Air Quality – B-1 Criteria Pollutant Modeling

Appendix C – Biological Resources – C-1 Vegetation Communities Mapping | C-2 CNPS Inventory of Rare Endangered Plants | C-3 California Natural Diversity Database

Appendix D – Cultural Resources – D-1 Paleontological Resources Review | D-2 Native American Consultation

Appendix E – Geological Hazards Investigation – E-1 Geologic Hazards Investigation

Appendix F – Greenhouse Gases – F-1 Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions and Modeling Results | F-2 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

Appendix G – Storm Drainage Technical Report – G-1 Storm Drainage Technical Report

Appendix H – Transportation – H-1 Roadway Classification | H-2 Existing Number of Lanes | H-3 AM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS – Existing | H-4 PM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS | H-5 Traffic Analysis Zones and Model Inputs | H-6 Roadway Functional Classifications | H-7 Planned Roadway Number of Lanes | H-8 AM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS – Existing + Project | H-9 PM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS – Existing + Project | H-10 AM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS – Cumulative | H-11 PM Peak Hour Volumes and LOS – Cumulative | H-12 Other Exhibits

Appendix I – Noise Modeling – I-1 Noise Modeling

Appendix J – Wastewater Technical Report – J-1 Wastewater Technical Report

Final MEIR Sections
Final Master Environmental Impact Report (FMEIR)

Final MEIR Appendices
Appendix 1 of the FMEIR | Appendix 2 of the FMEIR | Appendix 3 of the FMIER

Amended Planned Land Use Requests – Environmental Evaluation for the MEIR
Amended Planned Land Use Requests – Environmental Evaluation for the MEIR

Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program – All Applicable Mitigation Measures from the MEIR