February 6, 2004

Editorial:

Proposition A: Bad deal for the Cities of San Diego

Proposition A: County of San Diego. Rural Lands Initiative. The Rural Lands Initiative requires any newly subdivided parcels on approximately 694,000 acres of rural land in northern and eastern San Diego County to be a minimum of 40, 80 or 160 acres, be approved? This proposition requires approval by a simple majority (over 50%) of the voters.

This measure would make amendments to the San Diego County general plan. One amendment would add a “cornerstone goal” to the Regional Land Use Element of the general plan to ensure that urban development does not occur outside of country towns in rural areas in northern and eastern San Diego County unless approved by the voters.

This measure also would establish minimum parcel sizes for new parcels within an overlay area covering certain land in northern and eastern San Diego County. The minimum parcel size within Estate Development Areas and within Environmentally Constrained Areas Inside the County Water Authority Boundary would be 1 parcel per 40 acres (in other words, the property owner would generally be limited to building one residence per 40 acres). The minimum parcel size within Rural Development Areas would be 1 parcel per 80 acres. The minimum parcel size within Environmentally Constrained Areas Outside the County Water Authority Boundary would be 1 parcel per 160 acres.

Urban Sprawl and overcrowding is a huge problem in San Diego County, and for many in the community trying to deal with this problem, it has been perplexing. For years now, citizens have tried to deal with this issue through their elected officials and have been frustrated, feeling that the developers and casino owners have held the upper hand through their campaign contributions. And while it is not mentioned, also feeding into this frustration has been the uncontrolled growth of the gambling casinos, which included golf courses, support services and businesses, and new homes that have now sprung up around the county of San Diego, literally turning quiet county areas into urban areas and depleting once abundant water resources to a trickle.

While the cities of San Diego have filled out with new housing, county residents believe that the rural areas of San Diego will become the next big growth area as developers continue to meet the demand for housing. To put a stop to, or at the very least take control of, the growth in the northern and eastern portion county, some very well meaning people have proposed Proposition A in an effort to take the control out politicians’ hands and return it to the people.

While we understand the frustration of county residents and believe that their intentions are well meaning, Prop A is not the answer.

In essence what Prop A will do is to bottle up the housing in the cities, requiring builders to fill every nook and cranny with new homes. San Diego has a housing shortage, and as long as this situation exists, building will continue. If we take the rural areas out of this equation it will not leave us much choice but to continue developing within the cities, creating even more problems for the residents, including high density, traffic congestion, and questionable quality of life issues.

Development in of itself is not bad; in fact it is a necessity. What is bad is poorly planned development, which is what we are getting with all the casino related development. Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag on the Indian’s rights to develop, with the voters of the state giving the Indians their sovereignty. This means they can do pretty much as they please, as has been demonstrated. If the supporters of Prop A want to deal with the expansion of casinos, specifically, then they should do so, but to seek a blanket moratorium on all the rural areas is the wrong way to do this, and in fact, will not stop the gambling casinos from growing and building.

This proposal will guarantee that only the rich and wealthy will ever be able to live in the countryside! The working class will be confined only to the inner-core, overdeveloped cities! Urban ghettos will be the lot of the working class!

Vote No On Proposition A

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