Hanford’s new general plan is poised to transform the center of town into a mix of businesses, entertainment and dense residential over the next 20 years.
Members of the Hanford City Council and Planning Commission will meet Tuesday to consider a list of policies that will form the 2035 general plan. The general plan acts as a framework for how the city will grow and develop in the coming years.
The general plan update, which has been in the works since mid-2013, projects the population will grow to 90,000 by 2035.
The proposed policies cover areas like economic development, land use, transportation, open space and public facilities. Among those policies are some changes for downtown Hanford.
The current “downtown commercial” zoning designation places emphasis on retail businesses, professional services and office uses.
As written, the new plan shifts to a “downtown mixed use” designation, which focuses on making downtown into a hub for shopping, entertainment, restaurants, offices and high-density housing. New construction and major remodeling would be designed with pedestrians in mind.
The proposed changes wouldn’t be the only philosophical shift for downtown in recent history.
Earlier this year, the City Council amended the zoning ordinance to allow full-service hotels and movie theaters to locate in commercial districts beyond the downtown area. The council also lifted a restriction that required large medical offices to obtain a permit in order to locate downtown.
According to the policy document, mixed land uses aim to keep businesses, services and homes in close proximity to allow residents to work and shop close to home. This can increase the use of public transportation and decrease dependency on automobiles.
Proposed goals for the downtown area include keeping the region as the “physical, cultural, civic and commercial center of the city.” Additionally, the policy document seeks to promote a downtown that is “active, vibrant and safe” at all times of day or night.
A proposed draft zoning map also adds “corridor mixed use” to the commercial regions immediately east and west of downtown. Corridor mixed use areas would permit commercial businesses, offices and multi-family homes.