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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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County

San Diego County
Measure B - Majority Approval Required

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NEWLAND SIERRA AMENDMENTS TO THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY GENERAL PLAN
Shall the San Diego County General Plan Amendment PDS2015-GPA-15-001 approved by the Board of Supervisors for the development of the Newland Sierra Project, be approved? The existing General Plan allows 99 homes and up to 2,000,000 square feet of commercial with open space. General Plan Amendment PDS2015-GPA-15-001 would authorize up to 2,199 homes and 1,777,684 square feet of commercial. The approved Newland Sierra Project includes a planned community of 2,135 homes, a school site, 81,000 square feet of retail, 36 acres of parks and 1,209 acres of open space.

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by The League of Women Voters of San Diego (LWVSD) and the League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (LWVNCSD)

The Question

Should the County Board of Supervisors’ approval of a General Plan Amendment (GPA) be ratified for the Newland Sierra development project located west of I-15 near Escondido, San Marcos and Vista?

The Situation

The County General Plan specifies up to 99 housing units and up to 2,000,000 square feet of commercial space in this area. The Board of Supervisors can amend its General Plan with a simple majority vote and has approved numerous GPAs over the past few years.

The Board of Supervisors amended the General Plan in October 2018 allowing up to 2,199 housing units and 1,777,684 square feet of commercial space in Newland Sierra project. A referendum petition to suspend the amendment was brought forward by environmentalists and smart growth advocates. The Board of Supervisors then adopted a resolution to place the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment on the ballot.

The Proposal

The referendum would accept the Board of Supervisors’ General Plan Amendment (GPA). Thus, a “Yes” vote on Measure B would ratify the Board’s approval and allow the project to proceed. A “No” vote would repeal the Board of Supervisors’ amendment approval.

Fiscal effect

The Board of Supervisors did not request a fiscal impact statement for election materials.

Supporters say

  • The Newland Sierra project is necessary to help meet San Diego’s critical housing needs.

  • The project will address traffic congestion, providing $55 million for road/freeway improvements, facilitating worker housing nearer to San Diego County jobs.

  • Sixty percent of planned units would be set aside for working families making less than the area median income.

  • The project meets the highest fire safety standards, creating a 250-foot buffer serving as a fire break, improving evacuation routes, enhancing brush management and contributing $54 million for fire prevention.

Opponents say

  • The project does not include any affordable housing. The claim of the proponents that 60 percent of the units would be set aside for working families is unenforceable.

  • The project is in a Very High Fire Severity Zone where the County General Plan restricts the density of housing. The developer’s evacuation study is inadequate. The road capacity could not handle a large-scale evacuation which includes only two evacuation exits for a project the size of the city of Del Mar.

  • The project will add over 28,000 new trips per day to local roads and will pay nothing to mitigate the gridlock.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services staff in San Diego County have significant concerns about the project and its impact on habitat and viability of the Multiple Species Conservation Plan.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “yes” vote on this measure means that the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment will become effective.

NO vote means

A “no” vote on this measure means that the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment will not become effective.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

REFERENDUM AGAINST THE NEWLAND SIERRA GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT PDS2015-GPA-001

COUNTY COUNSEL IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS

This measure asks voters to uphold or repeal the Board of Supervisors’ amendment of the General Plan associated with the Newland Sierra project.

On September 26, 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved the Newland Sierra project, a master planned community located in northern San Diego County west of I-15, east of Oceanside and Vista, south of Bonsall, and north of Escondido and San Marcos. The Board approved a number of development entitlements required to implement the project, including General Plan amendment PDS2015-GPA-15-001.

That General Plan amendment is the subject of this Measure. The existing General Plan land use designations on site include Rural Lands, Office Professional, General Commercial and Semi- Rural Residential: these designations allow up to 99 homes and 2,000,000 square feet of commercial and office uses. A small portion of the site is currently designated SR-10. The Newland Sierra amendment would change the General Plan land use designations to include Semi-Rural Residential, Village Core Mixed Use, and Open Space-Conservation: these designations would allow up to 2,199 homes and 1,777,684 square feet of commercial use. 

The overall Newland Sierra project – as proposed through its entire package of development approvals – is a planned community of 2,135 homes, a school site, 81,000 square feet of retail, 36 acres of parks, and 1,209 acres of dedicated open space. Without the General Plan amendment, the Newland Sierra project cannot legally be built.

The text of this measure comes from a referendum petition titled “Referendum Against a Resolution Passed by the Board of Supervisors,” which proposes to repeal the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment. The petition was signed by at least 10% of voters and therefore required the Board of Supervisors to either repeal the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment or place it before voters. The Board of Supervisors placed the General Plan amendment on the ballot as this measure.

The Newland Sierra General Plan amendment will only become effective if a majority of voters approve this measure.

A “yes” vote on this measure means that the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment will become effective.

A “no” vote on this measure means that the Newland Sierra General Plan amendment will not become effective.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure A. A copy of the measure is also available of reviewing at the Registrar of Voters website at www.sdvote.com/en/measure-b.pdf. If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the Registrar of Voter's office at 858-505-7260 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE B

Yes on “B” -- A Better Choice.

The County’s current General Plan allows development of up to 2 million square feet of commercial/office buildings (bigger than Fashion Valley) and 99 estate homes on this privatelyowned property located between Escondido, San Marcos and Vista.

The alternative -- Yes on Measure “B” -- permits a project of 2,135 homes, at least 60% of which are guaranteed by a legally-binding covenant to be affordably priced for working families. That’s why it is endorsed by police, firefighters, teachers and others priced-out of San Diego’s home market.

Measure “B” permits a project with more than 1,200 acres of permanently-protected open space (the size of Balboa Park), public parks and trails, solar on every home, electric vehicle chargers in every garage, and a dedicated shuttle system connecting residents to existing transit centers.

Measure “B” permits a project that addresses traffic congestion, providing $56 million for road/freeway improvements, reducing the need for workers to commute from Riverside County homes to San Diego County jobs, generating up to 35% fewer rush hour trips than development currently allowed on the property. That’s why the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego North Economic Development Council and mayors of all five North County cities support it.

Measure “B” permits a project that meets the highest fire safety standards, creating a 250-footwide buffer that serves as a fire break, improved evacuation routes, enhanced brush management, and contributing $4.4 million for fire prevention and protection, more than double what is required. That’s why its Fire Protection Plan was approved by the Deer Springs Fire Protection District and endorsed by CAL FIRE Firefighters and fire safety experts.

Measure “B” is opposed by owners of the Golden Door Spa, an exclusive $10,000-a-week resort. They don’t want any development near their resort. That’s why they spent more than $2 million to force a countywide vote, even though this project was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

www.BetterChoiceSD.org

 

LISA CUESTAS
Affordable Housing Advocate and CEO of Casa Familiar 

BRIGADIER GENERAL MIKE NEIL,
USMCR (RET.)

DAVID LEONHARDI
President, Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County

TINA POPE
Education Advocate and Escondido Union High School District Trustee 

ROBERT OSBY
Retired San Diego Fire Chief and
Former Deer Springs Fire Protection District Board Member

— Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE B

VOTE NO ON NEWLAND SIERRA

NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR MIDDLE-CLASS SAN DIEGANS
IS REQUIRED BY PROJECT APPROVALS!

With prices too expensive for many San Diegans, Newland Sierra will do nothing to solve our housing problem or reduce costs and will put millions of dollars in the developers’ pockets. We need more housing in our area, but Newland Sierra is the wrong project.

Newland Sierra isn’t affordable.

  • Not even a single unit of affordable housing is required by the project approvals.
  • Developers admit that many houses could cost nearly a million dollars.
  • It’s a profit-driven development that could require the destruction of affordably-priced homes for seniors that already exist in the area.

We can’t trust Newland developers.

  • Developers could have committed to building affordable homes in the project’s approvals, but instead chose not to make this guarantee.
  • There are no price guarantees for any homes in Newland Sierra in the project approvals. The developers can increase the cost of homes at any time without a public vote.
  • Why should we trust Newland executives, who’ve given thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to local politicians?

Developers win while we lose. They make millions and all we get is traffic!

  • Newland isn’t required to pay a dime to widen the freeway, and they’ll pay far less than it would cost for local schools to deal with new growth.
  • Newland Sierra would make traffic MUCH worse, adding tens of thousands of daily car trips onto our freeway and roads.

American Federation of Teachers says NO to Newland Sierra because the project approvals don’t require affordable housing for teachers or other middle-class San Diegans.

“This project is located in a high fire danger zone and NO affordable housing for firefighters is required by the project approvals—two good reasons to vote NO.”
John Thomson, Retired Deputy Fire Chief

VOTE NO ON MEASURE B
www.NoOnNewlandSierra.com

 

JOHN THOMSON
Retired Deputy Fire Chief, SDFD

GEORGEANN HIGGINS
Deer Springs Oaks Mobile Home Park Advocate

DR. JAMES MILLER
Vice President, American Federation of Teachers 

HONORABLE OCTAVIO AGUILAR
Retired Administrative Law Judge

JERRY HARMON
Board Member, Escondido Chamber of Citizens

— Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE B

Developers + Politicians = Expensive Deal for Us

Do you trust a developer that stands to make millions off Newland Sierra to decide what’s right for our community? Do you trust politicians who approved Newland Sierra without a vote of the public? Do you trust Newland executives, who’ve given thousands of dollars to local politicians?

We can’t trust developers and politicians to do what’s right. That’s why we’re voting NO on B.

Politicians and developers could have guaranteed affordable housing in Newland Sierra’s project approvals but didn’t. County staff has even acknowledged that project approvals don’t require any affordable housing units (Planning Commission Hearing Report, 6/28/2018, p.24), but now Newland wants you to believe the opposite.

Politicians changed the rules so that Newland Sierra can build a sprawling, upmarket development, ignoring the community-driven process that determined what’s right for the area.

Developers aren’t required to pay a dime to widen the freeway, even though Newland Sierra would make traffic MUCH worse, adding tens of thousands of daily car trips onto our freeway and roads.

Developers tried to stop you from voting on Newland Sierra. Newland sued to remove Measure B from the ballot and failed.

“Newland Sierra is a bad deal for middle-class San Diegans. Taxpayers, not the developer, will have to pick up the tab for the cost of freeway capacity improvements. Why should working families pay the costs associated with a development that fails to require any affordable housing in the project approvals?”
Scott Barnett, San Diego Taxpayers Advocate

Say no to politicians and developers. Vote NO on B.

 

JOHN THOMSON
Retired Deputy Fire Chief, SDFD 

HONORABLE OCTAVIO AGUILAR
Retired Administrative Law Judge

DR. JAMES MILLER
Vice President, American Federation of Teachers 

SCOTT BARNETT
San Diego Taxpayers Advocate

JACK SHU
President, Cleveland National Forest Foundation

— Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE B

This private property is already designated for intense commercial and office development.

That’s why Measure B is a Better Choice.

Opponents claim “B” won’t really provide affordable housing. But the truth is a legally-binding covenant requires at least 60% of the homes to be affordable for working families.

  • That’s why affordable housing advocates hail this project as precedent-setting.

Opponents claim the developer isn’t required to “pay a dime” to reduce freeway congestion. But the truth is the developer is required to pay more than $56 million for road and I-15 interchange improvements and $8.8 million to the County to reduce existing congestion.

  • That’s why the mayors of all three cities surrounding the project support YES on “B.”

Opponents claim the project is vulnerable to wildfires. But fire safety experts say Measure B will increase fire safety in the area.

  • That’s why CAL FIRE Firefighters and fire chiefs support YES on “B.”

Opponents claim the developer will “pay far less than it would cost for local schools.” But the truth is the project is required to pay all school fees required by California law to accommodate new students and sets aside a school site in the project.

  • That’s why local school officials and teachers support YES on “B.”

The real question is, why are owners of the exclusive Golden Door spa spending millions to defeat this project? The truth is, they don’t care about providing affordable homes for working families. They just don’t want new neighbors near their resort.

www.BetterChoiceSD.org

 

LISA CUESTAS
Affordable Housing Advocate and CEO of Casa Familiar

BRIGADIER GENERAL MIKE NEIL, USMCR (RET.)

DAVID LEONHARDI
President, Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County 

CINDY LOPEZ
Public School Teacher
1st and 2nd Grade

PATRICK WALKER
Vice President, CAL FIRE Firefighters, L2881

— Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Read the proposed legislation

Who supports or opposes this measure?

More information

Contact Info

Yes on Measure B
Yes on B for a Better Choice
Misc. Item:

Committee major funding from Newland Sierra, LLC.

No on Measure B
No on B, Committee Against Newland Sierra & Bad Development
Misc. Item:

Committee major funding From Golden Door Properties.

Email info@noonewlandsierra.com
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