For the first time, residents in a Ventura County city have voted to substantially expand their urban growth boundaries in order to accommodate a residential development.
Some 61% of Santa Paula residents voted on Tuesday, May 8, to expand the urban growth boundary by 4,800 acres to bring the Adams Canyon area inside the city's growth boundary. Measure A7 also directed the city to amend its general plan to permit about 500 houses, a resort hotel and golf course, and require at least 200 acres of passive open space. The vote more than doubles the amount of undeveloped land inside the city's growth boundary
Tuesday's vote marked the third time the Adams Canyon area had been placed before the voters since they first approved the SOAR (Save Open space and Agricultural Resources) urban growth boundary initiative in 2000. In 2002, only 36% of the voters favored adding Adams Canyon. In 2006, the growth boundary expansion lost by only 88 votes.
Those previous votes envisioned a much larger project, however. For the vote on Tuesday, Pinnacle Development Co. scaled back its proposal from more than 2,000 houses to about 495. The hillside homes would probably sell for more than $3 million each – an extremely high-end project for Santa Paula, a mostly poor city of about 30,000 people located 10 miles inland from Ventura.
For the third election, Pinnacle took a different approach than the one the developer employed last year. Although the ballot measure describes how the general plan will be amended, Pinnacle has not proposed a specific development project yet. Also, the developer – which previously ran a million-dollar campaign – spent little this time, allowing proponents on the City Council to take the lead.
Voters in Ventura County and eight of its 10 cities created urban growth boundaries in a series of initiatives between 1995 and 2000.
Slow-growth advocates won major victories in November 3 local elections when voters rejected a housing project in Davis and a shopping center in Mendocino County, as well as sewer extensions in Modesto.
But slow-growth forces suffered some unexpected losses. In Santa Barbara and Ventura, two cities with a history of voter-controlled development, initiatives that would have imposed strict height limits on new buildings were rejected. In the Bay Area, Walnut Creek voters approved amended parking standards necessary for the construction of a Neiman Marcus store downtown.
Voters in the Santa Clara County city of Morgan Hill have changed their minds and approved a growth control modification to permit additional housing development in the downtown area. Measure A keeps in place Morgan Hill's population cap of 48,000 by 2020, but permits 500 more units downtown than had been allowed.
A state appellate court has sided with a city attorney who declined to prepare ballot titles and summaries for proposed ballot initiatives because they were unconstitutional. The court rejected the initiative backer's arguments that the Ojai city attorney acted too late, that judicial review at the "pre-petition" stage was inappropriate, and that a lawsuit filed by the city attorney was a SLAPP.
In balloting November 4 on local land use measures in California, slow-growth advocates won 22 of 39 elections. Opponents of development rejected an ambitious plan for the San Diego waterfront, endorsed a tight growth control initiative in Redondo Beach, and extended agricultural land protections in Napa and Solano County. But pro-growth forces won high-profile victories in Oxnard, where a subsequent vote requirement was proposed for most projects, and in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, San Marcos and Redwood City.
Redevelopment may have been the biggest winner in Tuesday's primary election. Statewide, voters rejected Proposition 98, an initiative to prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes. In San Francisco, voters supported a huge redevelopment project at the former Hunter's Point shipyard and Candlestick Point. And in Napa County, voters rejected a slow-growth initiative that was aimed at halting redevelopment of a former industrial site just south of Napa.
Stanislaus County voters on Tuesday approved a growth control initiative that prohibits the rezoning of agricultural land in unincorporated areas without voter approval. Elsewhere in California on Super Tuesday, voters in Santa Clara and Rocklin upheld housing project approvals, while voters in San Clemente overturned conversion of a golf course into condominiums.
Voters in Palm Springs threw out a 10-year extension of a development agreement for a project on the side of Mt. San Jacinto during the November 6 election. Slightly more than 60% of voters said yes to the Measure C referendum, which called for setting aside the development agreement extension.
Livermore: Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure K, a plan to modify the urban growth boundary to allow construction of 1,500 houses and preservation of some 2,000 acres of farmland and undeveloped property.
Pleasanton: More than 63% of voters supported a $50 million bond issue to purchase land in the city which is owned by the City of San Francisco and slated for development. But that was not enough to win the two-thirds majority required for Measure I approval.
City of Livermore
Voters rejected the Citizens Alliance for Public Planning (CAPP) initiative that would have required an election for a development of more than 20 units.
Measure B: No, 61.5%
City of Pleasanton
Voters defeated the CAPP initiative that would have mandated an election for a development with at least 10 units.
Measure D: No, 56.4%
City of Newark
Voters defeated an initiative that would have changed the general plan designation of 560...
A county considering the environmental impact of a proposal to expand a mine may use full-capacity operation of the existing facility as the environmental "baseline" even if the facility is operating at less than full capacity, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
In one of the most active election days of the decade for planning and development issues, pro-growth and slow-growth forces battled almost to a tie on local ballots around the state in November. Slow-growthers won some high-profile victories, most notably a near-sweep in passing a highly publicized series of urban growth boundaries in Ventura County. However, they lost other key races in San Diego and El Dorado counties. And - perhaps most surprising - most measures to allow or promote growth passed ea...