The land use element establishes the general distribution, location, and extent of future land uses and provides standards for the intensity and density of the built environment. It establishes policies to guide land use, development, and redevelopment. 

Key Issues

The land use element maintains Clovis’ tradition of responsible planning and well-managed growth to preserve the quality of life in existing neighborhoods and ensure the development of new neighborhoods with an equally high quality of life. The goals and policies seek to foster more compact development patterns that can reduce the number, length, and duration of auto trips. The element also balances residential growth with economic and employment growth. 


OVERARCHING GOAL: A complete community and a sustainable city that maintains its small town character and premier quality of life through balanced growth, development, and reinvestment.

Goal 1: The quality of buildings and neighborhoods within the older parts of Clovis is in the same class as the quality of those in recently developed areas.  

Policy 1.1 Long term plans: Establish and implement long term plans for areas identified on Figure LU-5 as older areas that may not be on par with recently developed areas.

Policy 1.2 Open to changes: Be open to potential changes in land use, circulation, and development standards to reposition areas identified on Figure LU-5 if necessary for revitalization and redevelopment.

Policy 1.3 Priority for public investments: Assign a high priority to public investments (infrastructure, services, facilities, and open space) in areas identified in Figure LU-5.

Policy 1.4 Code enforcement: Prioritize code enforcement activity in areas identified in Figure LU-5.

Policy 1.5 Revision cycle: Revisit and, if necessary, revise the map in Figure LU-5 at least once every three years.

Policy 2.1: Primary location for celebrations. Designate Old Town as the primary location for major public celebrations.

Policy 2.2: Diverse businesses and activities. Encourage a diverse range of businesses and activities in Old Town, including businesses that operate in daytime and evening hours.

Policy 2.3: Walkability and human scale. Maintain the walkability of Old Town and expand the human-scale building form and pedestrian orientation to areas south of Fifth Street (specifically, this means attached buildings fronting onto the right-of-way instead of on-site parking).

Policy 2.4: Public spaces. Create and maintain public spaces in Old Town.

Policy 2.5: Independent retailers. Encourage independent retailers that complement the authenticity of Old Town.

Policy 2.6: Regional destination. Promote and market Old Town as a regional destination.

Policy 3.1: Planning for the entire Urban Center. Require a comprehensive design document (such as a master plan, specific plan, or design guidelines) for each Urban Center prior to authorizing new development. In addition to any statutory requirements, each document should provide direction on:

  • A. Consistency with the General Plan 
    B. Visual appearance
  • C. A mix of housing types, tenure options, and price points
  • D. Non-vehicular circulation within and connections to the remainder of Clovis and adjacent communities
  • E. Centralized public services, community park, open space, trails, and recreation facilities
  • F. Adequate provision of educational facilities

Policy 3.2: Individual development project. When projects are proposed in an Urban Center, require a conceptual master plan to show how a proposed project could relate to possible future development of adjacent and nearby properties. The conceptual master plan should generally cover about 160 acres or the adjacent area bounded by major arterials, canals, or other major geographical features. The conceptual master plan should address:

  • A. Compliance with the comprehensive design document (see Policy 3.1)
  • B. A consistent design theme 
  • C. A mix of housing types
  • D. Adequate supply and distribution of neighborhood parks
    E. Safe and direct pedestrian and bicycle linkages between residential areas and school sites, parks, and community activity centers

Policy 3.3: Completion of Loma Vista. The City prioritizes the completion of Loma Vista while allowing growth to proceed elsewhere in the Clovis Planning Area in accordance with agreements with the County of Fresno and LAFCo policies.

Policy 3.4: Infrastructure investment. The City may invest in infrastructure in the Northeast and Northwest Urban Centers if and when the City is satisfied that the investment is fiscally neutral or beneficial and that there will be adequate funding to provide public services. 

Policy 3.5: Fiscal sustainability. The City shall require establishment of community facility districts, lighting and landscaping maintenance districts, special districts, and other special funding or financing tools in conjunction with or as a condition of development, building or permit approval, or annexation or sphere of influence amendments when necessary to ensure that new development is fiscally neutral or beneficial.

Policy 3.6: Mix of housing types and sizes. Development is encouraged to provide a mix of housing types, unit sizes, and densities at the block level. To accomplish this, individual projects five acres or larger may be developed at densities equivalent to one designation higher or lower than the assigned designation, provided that the density across an individual project remains consistent with the General Plan.

Policy 3.7: Urban Village Neighborhood Concept. Residential developments in Urban Centers must contribute to and become a part of a neighborhood by incorporating a central park feature, a school complex, a hierarchy of streets, pedestrian pathways, or other neighborhood amenities. Higher density residential should be next to lands designated Mixed Use Village. The City may also require the application of the urban village neighborhood concept in areas outside of an Urban Center.

Policy 3.8: Land use compatibility. Within Urban Centers, new development that is immediately adjacent to properties designated for rural residential and agricultural uses shall bear the major responsibility of achieving land use compatibility and buffering.

Policy 3.9: Connected development. New development in Urban Centers must fully improve roadway, pedestrian, and bicycle systems within and adjacent to the proposed project and connect to existing urbanized development.

Policy 4.1: Clovis leadership. The city shall take a leadership role in the land use planning for the sphere of influence and entire Clovis General Plan Area.

Policy 4.2: Surface water entitlements. The city should not approve annexation unless any and all surface water entitlements are retained; any and all surface water entitlements shall be transferred to the city upon development.

Policy 4.3: Future environmental clearance. The city shall monitor development and plan for additional environmental clearance as development levels approach those evaluated in the General Plan EIR.

Policy 4.4: Farmland conservation. Participate in regional farmland conservation, including the establishment of comprehensive agricultural preserves or easements, through efforts such as the Fresno County Model Farmland Conservation Program or the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint.

Policy 5.1: Housing variety in developments. The Clovis General Plan has been planned to provide a variety of housing product types suitable to each stage of a person’s life. Each development should contribute to a diversity of housing sizes and types within the standards appropriate to the land use designation. This policy does not apply to projects smaller than five acres.

Policy 5.2: Ownership and rental. Encourage a mixture of both ownership and rental options to meet varied preferences and income affordability needs.

Policy 5.3: Innovative housing. Encourage innovative housing product types, including multigenerational, cooperative, and variations on live-work housing.

Policy 5.4: Transit oriented development. Encourage the provision of retail and employment opportunities in areas served by transit, recognizing the needs of the transit-dependent population.

Policy 5.5: Jobs for residents. Encourage development that provides job opportunities in industries and occupations currently underserved in Clovis. 

Policy 5.6: Workforce housing. Encourage the development of workforce housing that serves the needs of those working in Clovis.

Policy 6.1: Amendment criteria. The City Council may approve amendments to the General Plan when the City Council is satisfied that the following conditions are met:

  • A. The proposed change is and will be fiscally neutral or positive.
  • B. The proposed change can be adequately served by public facilities and would not negatively impact service on existing development or the ability to service future development.
  • C. The proposed change is consistent with the Urban Village Neighborhood Concept when within an Urban Center.
  • D. General Plan amendments proposing a change from industrial, mixed-use business campus, or office (employment generating) land use designations to non-employment-generating land use designation shall be accompanied by an analysis of the potential impacts on the City’s current and long-term jobs-housing ratio, as well as an evaluation on the change or loss in the types of jobs.
  • E. This policy does not apply to:
    • i. County designations within the Clovis Planning Area or changes made by the City Council outside of the sphere boundary to reflect changes made by the County of Fresno.
    • ii. Changes initiated by public agencies (such as school districts, flood control) for use by public agencies.
    • iii. Changes initiated by the city within a specific plan.

Policy 6.2: Smart growth. The city is committed to the following smart growth goals.

  • A. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
  • B. Create walkable neighborhoods
  • C. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration
  • D. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
  • E. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective
  • F. Mix land uses
  • G. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
  • H. Provide a variety of transportation choices
  • I. Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities
  • J. Take advantage of compact building design
  • K. Enhance the economic vitality of the region
  • L. Support actions that encourage environmental resource management

Clovis Planning Area and Buildout Summary

The Clovis Planning Area encompasses approximately 47,805 acres (75 square miles). The total acreage includes the parcelized land acreage (43,570 acres) and non-parcelized, right-of-way (ROW) acreage (4,235 acres). The City’s incorporated boundaries include 217 acres for the Clovis landfill, which is approximately 13 miles north of the City in Fresno County.

The three generalized areas of the planning area are: the incorporated boundaries of the City of Clovis, the unincorporated portions of the Clovis Sphere of Influence (SOI), and unincorporated areas outside of the current SOI (see Figure LU-1). The extension of the planning area beyond the City and SOI boundaries enables Clovis to influence the decisions that directly affect the City; preserve ROW for regional transportation routes; and leverage control of development design, phasing, and infrastructure provision in outlying areas. The Planning Area also offers opportunities for employment and sustainable, high quality neighborhoods in all three Urban Centers.

The General Plan plans and forecasts the ultimate buildout of the entire planning area to allow for proper phasing and funding of public services and infrastructure consistent with the General Plan goals and policies. The Land Use Diagram (Figure LU-2) illustrates the proposed land uses for the entire planning area and Table LU-1 lists the estimated level of development at buildout. It is important to note that buildout of the entire General Plan area is not expected to occur for at least 70 years. 

The Land Use Diagram (Figure LU-2) serves as the graphic guide for the development and management of lands within the Clovis planning area. Together with the description of the Land Use, Focus Area, and Specific Plan designations (Tables Figure LU-2 and Figure LU-4), the Diagram depicts the general location, intensity, and use of lands. The land use patterns and areas identified are intended to provide the basis for more detailed land use districts, densities, requirements, and standards established in the Development Code. Table LU-3 shows the zoning districts that correspond to each land use designation.

The General Plan identifies three areas as Urban Centers to focus where outward growth may occur and to ensure that such growth is high quality, fiscally sustainable, balanced, and helps implement the General Plan’s goals and policies. Each Urban Center can be implemented by either a specific plan or a master development plan, either of which requires coordinated land use and infrastructure planning. Figure LU-3 identifies the three Urban Centers: Loma Vista, Northwest, and Northeast.

Loma Vista Urban Center

The Loma Vista Urban Center is implemented by the Loma Vista Specific Plan. This Loma Vista Specific Plan outlines guiding principles and a comprehensive land use plan to promote a high quality residential community focused around two community centers, a business campus, and the Reagan Educational Center.

Northwest Urban Center

The General Plan provides fairly specific land use planning for the Northwest Urban Center, with policies that require a comprehensive design document to provide additional development and land use guidance. The General Plan also envisions that the comprehensive design document for the Northwest Urban Center will:

  • Use San Joaquin Valley-appropriate plantings
  • Capitalize on views of Owens Mountain and the Sierra Nevada
  • Achieve compact development patterns that integrate a variety of housing types, sizes, and densities at the neighborhood and community level
  • Eliminate as feasible the use of sound walls separating neighborhoods from roads
  • Develop a well-connected grid system of roads
  • Prohibit retail land uses within a quarter mile of any Clovis Unified School District campus.

Northeast Urban Center

The General Plan provides fairly specific land use planning for the Northeast Urban Center, with policies that require a comprehensive design document to provide additional development and land use guidance. The General Plan envisions that the comprehensive design document (such as a master plan or specific plan), for the Northeast Urban Center will:

  • Create a series of urban villages that are distinct but that, taken together, contribute to a common public identity for the Northeast Urban Center
  • Develop major arterials that are not on a grid pattern; rather, the major arterials flow with the land and capitalize on vistas of the Sierra Nevada and pristine local viewsheds
  • Provide other streets in a well-connected grid system
  • Connect neighborhoods, community centers, parks, schools, and commercial districts with a robust non-vehicular circulation system

Some areas of the City’s Planning Area merit additional flexibility and direction regarding urban form and design, finely-tuned site planning, the development of mixed uses, and coordinated land use planning for areas that are under multiple ownerships. The City has two tools that augment the General Plan land use designations for specific sites: focus areas and specific plans. Table LU-4 and Figure LU-4 describe and map the boundaries for land that is assigned a focus area and/or specific plan.

  • Focus Area: A focus area assignment complements a property’s General Plan land use designation and may expand permissible uses, introduce new policy requirements, augment development standards, or simply call attention to a complex property. 
  • Specific Plan: A specific plan is a planning document that provides customized standards and criteria for the development of a particular area. A specific plan establishes the planning concept, design and development guidelines, administrative procedures, and implementation measures necessary to achieve the orderly and compatible development of a project area while maintaining consistency with and implementing the goals and policies of the General Plan.
  • Table LU-4 Mixed-Use Focus Areas and Specific Plans