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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for San Diego County.
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Voter Approval Requirement for Certain Development ProjectsInitiative from the People

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of Del Mar
Measure R Initiative from the People - Majority Approval Required

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Shall the ordinance which proposes to amend the Del Mar Community Plan, Housing Element, and Municipal Code to require voter approval for certain development projects be adopted?

Summary

[Voter's Edge Staff Note: The following summary by the Del Mar City Attorney was not included with the documents accompanying the full text of Measure R, as published by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters; instead, it was contained in the Ballot Title and Summary document available on the website of the Del Mar City Clerk. It is included in Voter's Edge because voters might find this overview of the full text helpful.]

The ordinance proposed by initiative petition would require voter approval of certain development projects of 25,000 or more square feet in any commercial zone by amending the Community Plan, Housing Element, and Municipal Code. The square footage threshold would be met either if the individual parcel is 25,000 square feet or more or if the adjacent parcels developed together meet or exceed 25,000 square feet.

Proposed revisions to the Del Mar Community Plan would limit and require voter approval to allow certain development-related actions to occur for developments of 25,000 square feet or more in any commercial zone, including: increases in permitted height structure; increases in floor area ratio and lot coverage allowed; increases in the residential density permitted, whether by general plan amendment, community plan amendment, local coastal program amendment, specific plan, planned development, zone change, tentative subdivision map, or other discretionary land use approval; and approval of a specific plan for qualifying parcels with any commercial designation or in any commercial zone as of March 15, 2016. The Community Plan would further be amended to delete goals to explore mixed residential commercial land uses within other areas of the commercially zoned downtown area.

The Housing Element would be revised to require voter approval for: a zone code amendment and associated actions to assign a new land use designation for two North Commercial Zone vacant properties, as well as any other changes to those properties that would require or allow a change to the zoning code, specific plan, density bonus, or increase in floor area ratio, lot coverage, or building height; zone code amendments to the North Commercial and Professional Commercial Zone's development standards to increase allowable residential density; any change to the land use and zoning policies of qualifying parcels in the North Commercial and Professional Commercial Zones from the underlying zone permitted as of March 15, 2016; any specific plan, zone code changes or density bonus for development projects of 25,000 square feet or more for parcels with any commercial designation in the Community Plan or zoning code as of March 15, 2016; and any increase in floor area ratio, lot coverage, or buidling height limits or re-designation for higher density residential development for development projects of 25,000 square feet or more for parcels in any commercial zone.

Proposed revisions to the Municipal Code would require voter approval for any increase in floor area ratio, lot coverage, and/or building height limits with respect to developments of 25,000 square feet or more in Residential-Commercial, Central Commercial, Beach Commercial, North Commercial, Professional Commercial, or Visitor Commercial Zones as of March 15, 2016, as well as voter approval for any variance, zoning amendment, or density bonus for such qualifying development projects in commercial zones.

Any action requiring voter approval would require a simple majority. If a special election were requested for such voter approval, the costs would be borne by the project proponents.

— Del Mar City Attorney

Background

Measure R is a measure placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters of the City of Del Mar.

— Del Mar City Attorney

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Currently, development-related approvals such as increases in permitted height structure, floor area ratio, lot coverage, or the residential density permitted; variances; zone code amendments; tentative subdivision map approval; specific plan adoptions; or density bonuses do not require voter approval, regardless of the development size. The exception is properties subject to Measure B, which requires voter approval of specific plans adopted for development in the Central Commercial Zone.

With respect to variances, tentative subdivision maps, and density bonuses, state law provides the standard for approvals. Similarly, state law places certain requirements on the City's Housing Element related to affordable housing. In order to comply with state law, the City has included various implementation strategies in its Housing Element. A question exists as to the impact of the proposed measure on such implementation strategies and the consequences should the measure prevent the strategies contemplated.

The proposed measure would require voter approval of certain development projects of 25,000 or more square feet in any commercial zone by amending the Community Plan, Housing Element, and Municipal Code. The square footage threshold would be met either if the individual parcel is 25,000 square feet or more or if adjacent parcels developed together meet or exceed 25,000 square feet. The actions that would require voter approval for qualifying parcels pursuant to the measure include increases in permitted height structure; increases in floor area ratio and lot coverage allowed; increases in the residential density permitted, whether by general plan amendment, community plan amendment, local coastal program amendment, specific plan, planned development, zone change, tentative subdivision map, or other discretionary land use approval; approval of a specific plan; and variances. Any action requiring voter approval requires a simple majority. If a special election were requested for voter approval, the costs would be borne by the project proponents.

Additionally, the measure would amend the Community Plan to delete goals to explore mixed use residential commercial land uses within the commercial area adjacent to Stratford Court and to allow mixed residential commercial land uses within other areas of the commercially zoned downtown area. Because such changes are without respect to project size, a legal question exists as to whether the measure violates the single subject limitation for initiatives, where the declared purpose of the initiative pertains to large scale development projects.

Because initiative powers extend only to legislative actions (not administrative actions), a legal question also exists as to whether the proposed measure is valid with respect to the approval of variances, tentative subdivision maps, and density bonuses, which involve the application of pre-established standards and conditions and are thus administrative in nature.

Further, a legal question exists as to whether portions of the measure conflict with state law, particularly with respect to variances, tentative subdivision maps, and density bonuses, and as to the effect of the Coastal Commission's jurisdiction over and required approval of the changes proposed.

/s/ Leslie E. Devaney, City Attorney 

— Del Mar City Attorney

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE R

 

Protect Our Community Plan and Small Town Character - Vote “YES” on “R” - Ensure Your Right to Vote

WHAT DOES THIS INITIATIVE DO: It allows our Del Mar citizens to have the final say in changes to our Community Plan regarding Commercial Zone properties of 25,000 square feet or larger.

If a developer wants to change the zoning to create a Specific Plan where the allowed density, height of buildings, floor area ratio and lot coverage are changed, the development must be submitted to the voters for their approval.

WHY IS THIS INITIATIVE IMPORTANT TO DEL MAR RESIDENTS: We do not want our Community Plan changed without a vote of the people.

Our Community Plan defines what we want our community to be; it serves to protect our quality of life now and into the future. We cannot take our Community Plan for granted. As citizens of Del Mar, we are all in this together and we should do everything possible to protect our Community Plan by voting “YES” on this Initiative. Changing our Community Plan SHOULD BE DECIDED BY THE VOTERS, NOT FOUR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS.

If the developer of Watermark wants to change the density of a North Commercial Zone property to 48 homes where only 1 home is presently allowed, where sacred Torrey Pines will be cut down and natural bluffs destroyed, where very little open space is preserved and the height of homes exceed the existing zoning code, that plan would have to be approved by the voters.

On Election Day, November 8th, please join us and many other Del Mar citizens in voting “YES” to enact this Initiative so that all registered voters of Del Mar can have a part in protecting our Community Plan.

Vote “YES” on Measure “R” - Ensure Your Right to Vote

/s/

PAMELA SLATER-PRICE
SD County Supervisor 1992-2013

BROOKE D. EISENBERG 
Former Mayor/Former Design Review Member

ARNIE WIESEL
President-Del Mar Hillside Cmmty Ass.

HERSHELL T. PRICE 
Former Del Mar Planning Commissioner

DAVID S. DRUKER
Former Del Mar Mayor 

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE R

 

Measure R is BAD FOR DEL MAR:

It’s Illegal

  • Measure R conflicts with State laws, including the Affordable Housing law, the Subdivision Map law, and State Planning laws.
  • Measure R interferes with the City’s legal duties under State law, which violates the Constitutional requirement that initiatives concern only legislative matters, not administrative duties.
  • It’s overly broad and violates the Constitutional one- subject requirement;
  • If approved by voters, Measure R would still not become effective until and unless it is approved by the California Coastal Commission – a lengthy, uncertain and expensive process.

It Changes Our Community Plan

  • Measure R is a barrier to providing affordable housing in Del Mar;
  • It eliminates Community Plan goals for mixed use residential housing;
  • It would invalidate our State certified Housing Element;
  • It undermines the Planning Commission, Design Review Board, and City Council in upholding the Community Plan;
  • It conflicts with Del Mar voter-approved Specific Plans for The Plaza, Garden Project, and L’Auberge.

It’s Bad Government

  • Because Measure R means Del Mar would no longer comply with State housing requirements, the State could petition courts to take judicial control over Del Mar’s planning and zoning authority.
  • Measure R would make upgrades or replacements of commercial development in Del Mar prohibitively expensive, resulting in commercial blight and decay.

It’s Expensive

  • Measure R exposes Del Mar to costly litigation, potential loss of State and federal revenues, and reduced sales and property tax revenues.

Measure R is unnecessary - voters already have the power to force unpopular City Council-approved projects to referendum election. Measure R conflicts with California laws; exposes the City to costly litigation, potential loss of state and federal grants, possible court administered planning and zoning requirements; and would result in blight and decay in our commercial areas. For our future – REJECT MEASURE R!

/s/

DONALD E. MOISER
Member, Del Mar City Council

JOSEPH W. DERNETZ 
Former Del Mar City Manager

TERRY L. SINNOTT
Member, Del Mar City Council

JAMES E. EMERSON  
Member, Del Mar Finance Committee

JAMES WATKINS
Community Developer 

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE R

 

Some Del Mar residents may favor requiring an election for every Specific Plan and Zoning Code change, including the pending Watermark Project application. But requiring an election for every project is both costly and unnecessary.

Del Mar’s rigorous review process requires every project to go through hearings by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and City Council, with many opportunities for public input. If an unpopular project were approved by the City Council, opponents have the remedy of referendum petition, requiring only 10% voter signatures.

Measure R proponents oppose the Watermark project, which remains in the early stages of the review process. No EIR has yet been prepared; and NO APPROVALS HAVE YET BEEN GIVEN. After public hearings and the review process are completed, if Watermark were approved over residents’ objections, opponents could submit a petition for a referendum election, requiring either a vote of the people, or rejection of the project by the City.

But if Measure R is approved, it could put Del Mar in conflict with current State law and create additional conflicts within our own Community Plan, zoning ordinances, Measure B, and existing Specific Plans. Litigation over these conflicts could involve the City in lengthy and costly lawsuits. In the worst case, courts could intervene to force Del Mar’s compliance with State laws by suspending the City’s planning and zoning authority.

Measure R would protect the self-interest of a few -- not the best interests of our community.

PLEASE – VOTE NO ON MEASURE R!

/s/

D. DWIGHT WORDEN
Member, Del Mar City Council

JOSEPH E. SULLIVAN

TERRY L. SINNOTT
Member, Del Mar City Council

JAMES E. EMERSON (BUD) 
Member, Del Mar Finance Committee

NANCY K. FISHER

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE R

 

MEASURE “R” IS NOT ILLEGAL:

The opposition statement that Measure “R” is illegal is false. Two signers of the Argument Against Measure “R” are City Council Members who voted to put Measure “R” on the ballot. At that Council meeting, neither mentioned that Measure “R” was illegal. Neither did the Del Mar City Attorney.

Additionally, the City Attorney wrote the Impartial Analysis of Measure “R” and not once stated that it was illegal.

It is disingenuous for these opponents to now claim Measure “R” is illegal. This is a scare tactic; they do not want our citizens to have the Right to Vote on changes to our Community Plan and large development projects.

MEASURE “R” DOES NOT NEED TO BE APPROVED BY THE COASTAL COMMISSION: The City Attorney only questions the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction over Measure “R” and to the extent any parts may be reviewed, does not make Measure “R” illegal.

THE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE TO OUR COMMUNITY PLAN IS:
Measure “R” gives the citizens of Del Mar the Right to Vote on proposed Community Plan changes to Commercial Property developments of 25,000 square feet or larger, as is the case with the Watermark development.

Nothing in Measure “R” changes our ability to comply with State housing law.

Measure “R” does not undermine City government; Measure “R” improves our City government by providing a level of public review and approval through our Right to Vote.

Protect our Community Plan:

VOTE “YES” on Measure “R” - Ensure Your Right to Vote

/s/

ARNOLD WIESEL
President, Del Mar Hillside Community Association

WADE H. WALKER 

PAMELA SLATER PRICE
SD County Supervisor 1192-2013

JOHN H. WEARE 
Mayor of Del Mar during General Plan adoption

BARBARA MYERS 

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Proposed legislation

[NOTE 9/18/2016--Because the official sample ballot text is not yet available from San Diego County Registrar of Voters, the following sections of Measure R's profile in Voter's Edge are quoted from documents available via the Del Mar City Clerk's elections webpage:

These statements will be verified and updated, if necessary, when the sample ballot text is publicly available.]

Yes on Measure R
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