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The drought in California has gone on so long, and is so severe, that it’s beginning to change the way people are designing residential communities — in unexpected ways, and unexpected places.
Planning is under way, for instance, for one of the first eco-friendly communities in California’s predominantly agricultural Central Valley.
The site is in the town of Reedley, 30 miles southeast of Fresno.
There were a number of factors that distinguished Reedley, says Curt Johansen, the San Francisco developer who’s spearheading the project.
It’s home to a community college and a thriving downtown, and it recently said no to Wal-Mart building in the town.
“Reedley had just updated their general plan,” Johansen says. “So I thought, OK, if ever I’m going to try this, let me try this.”
On a recent day, we’re touring the proposed site of what Johansen calls Kings River Village. It sits near the edge of town and has a view of the Sierra Nevada. Modern-looking low-income housing sits on one side, and a sports park on the other.
But the site itself sits on 40 acres of what used to be peach and plum trees.
“When you first arrive, you’re looking at very walkable retail with office-above components. So something you might see more in an urban, bigger city,” Johansen says. […]