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November 7, 2017 — Local Elections
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Local

City of Novato
Measure D - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

8,933 votes yes (73.93%)

3,150 votes no (26.07%)

100% of precincts reporting (26/26).

12,533 ballots counted.

Shall the City of Novato adopt an ordinance amending the General Plan to continue the Urban Growth Boundary to December 31, 2042 and adopting policies and programs relating thereto be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

s/VERONICA A. F. NEBB Sr. Assistant City Attorney City of Novato

CITY ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE D

In November of 1997, the voters of the City of Novato approved Measure G, an amendment to the Novato General Plan incorporating an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The text of Measure G provided that the UGB was to be in place for a 20 year period, until November 4, 2017. Measure D would amend the City of Novato General Plan to continue the UGB and related goals and policies which, with certain exceptions, will restrict the City from approving permits for urban development outside the boundary line set by the UGB until December 31, 2042, unless earlier amended by a majority vote of the electorate. If adopted by the requisite vote, Measure D will impose development restrictions on land located outside the UGB, when city permits are sought or when such land is annexed to the City. The uses to which such land may be put, without the granting of an exception, are limited and are described in Measure D as “non-urban” uses such as “agricultural, conservation, parkland and open space uses”. Exceptions are provided in the Measure D allowing the Novato City Council, under certain circumstances and based on specified facts, to change the UGB, or grant an exception, without a vote of the people. These include, by a majority vote of the City Council, exceptions: (1) to accommodate up to ten (10) acres of land per calendar year for housing primarily for low and very low income households; (2) to avoid an unconstitutional taking of private property; (3) for the development of a public park, public school, public facility, or public open space project and (4) to permit development with a vested right under the law to proceed consistent with that vested right. Further, by a 2/3 vote of the City Council additional exceptions may be granted: (a) to address a significant threat to the public health, safety or welfare relating to non-residential properties, where modifications to the UGB do not involve new development or a change in use and involves only developed or substantially developed lands; (b) to permit the construction or expansion of a single family residential structure and one accessory dwelling unit, consistent with all applicable regulations, on a legal conforming lot which existed on November 7, 2017 and which has a failing septic system, or which must pursuant to applicable County requirements, connect to the Novato Sanitary District in order to construct or expand, provided in either case, that the owner of such lot agrees to legally restrict further subdivision thereof.

 

The General Plan amendments proposed by Measure D would be adopted if approved by a simple majority of those electors voting on the measure at the November 7, 2017 election.

 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

You can help protect and preserve our small town character, promote economic vitality, maintain our quality of life, provide better planning and development, and protect our rural and open space environments in Novato by voting yes on Measure D.

Measure D renews Novato’s existing Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) adopted by the voters in 1997, and is now even stronger to prevent urban sprawl.

The UGB is similar to the city limit line that defines our community. Urban development outside the UGB is discouraged, which protects ranching and agriculture, hillsides and ridgelines, and open spaces. The UGB is essentially the same as our current city limit line.

There is enough land within the City to accommodate reasonable growth and development for the next 25 years. Measure D does not change the City’s density or zoning and will help our town prosper.

Measure D also gives the City Council some flexibility to accommodate unique affordable housing and community facilities outside the UGB, but it prevents Novato’s growth from encroaching into our surrounding agricultural lands and open space. It preserves our community separators and small town quality of life.

Measure D will not cost the taxpayers anything. It is not another layer of government. It will maintain property values and community services.

Help preserve our small town character, promote economic vitality, maintain our quality of life, provide better planning and development, and protect our rural and open space environments in Novato by joining us in voting YES on Measure D. For more information go to: www.NovatoUGB.org.

s/DENISE ATHAS
Mayor

s/JOSH FRYDAY
Mayor Pro Tem

s/PAM DREW
Councilmember

s/PAT EKLUND
Councilmember

s/ERIC LUCAN
Councilmember

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF NOVATO DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Findings and Purpose

A. Purpose. The purpose of this ordinance is to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City of Novato, to preserve agricultural uses which are vital to the region's economy, to encourage planned and managed growth, and to implement the goals, objectives and policies of the City of Novato General Plan and its provisions that development should be compact.

This ordinance amends the City of Novato General Plan to continue the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) adopted by the voters on November 4, 1997 to extend the effective date of the Urban Growth Boundary to December 31, 2042.

The Urban Growth Boundary (sometimes UGB) is established until December 31, 2042, beginning with the effective date of this ordinance, during which urban development is restricted outside the boundary, stipulating that development proposals will not be approved for land outside of the UGB except under limited circumstances consistent with other applicable General Plan policies. This initiative would, with certain exceptions, require any extension of the UGB to be approved by a vote of the people. The UGB may be updated and/or extended after December 31, 2042.

B. Findings. The people of the City of Novato find that this ordinance:

  1. Protects agricultural uses outside the UGB by promoting, on lands outside the UGB, ongoing agricultural and other natural resource and open space uses, such as preservation of natural resources, public and private outdoor recreation, uses that foster public health and safety, and productive investment for farming enterprises;
  2. Encourages efficient growth patterns and protects the quality of life of the citizens of Novato by concentrating future residential, commercial and industrial growth in areas already served by urban services, consistent with the availability of infrastructure and services;
  3. Improves the City's ability to provide municipal services, and discourages the provision of City services to sprawling developments in outlying agricultural and open space lands which greatly increases the cost of such services, while allowing for the possibility of residential development at a rural scale on existing legal lots;
  4. Protects open space and community separators surrounding the City;
  5. Manages the City's growth in a manner that fosters and protects the rural character of Novato while encouraging appropriate economic development in accordance with the City's unique local conditions;
  6. Does not impose any numerical or percentage limit on the development of housing units in the City;
  7. Allows the City to continue to meet its fair share of the affordable and low cost housing needs of the region; and
  8. Promotes stability in long term planning for the City by establishing a cornerstone policy within the General Plan designating the geographic limits of long term urban development and allowing sufficient flexibility within those limits to respond to the City's changing needs over time.

SECTION 2. General Plan Amendment: Urban Growth Boundary

A. The General Plan shall be amended as follows:

  1. Map 1 is revised to depict the Urban Growth Boundary as set forth in the attached Exhibit A.
  2. Text Amendments:
    The following text shall be added to the General Plan Land Use or equivalent chapter:
    Urban Growth Boundary
    The City seeks to protect agricultural, natural resource, open space and community separator uses, public and private outdoor recreation, uses that foster public health and safety, and farming enterprises as well as encourage efficient growth patterns that foster and protect the rural character of Novato while encouraging appropriate economic development in accordance with the City's unique local conditions.
    The establishment of an Urban Growth Boundary will protect the quality of life of the citizens of Novato by concentrating future residential, commercial and industrial growth in areas already served by urban services. The Urban Growth Boundary will improve the City's ability to provide municipal services and discourage the provision of City services to sprawling developments in outlying areas, including agricultural and open space lands which greatly increases the cost of such services.
  3. The following Goals, Policies and Programs are added to the General Plan Land Use or equivalent chapter to read as follows (numbering to replace X shall be as provided by the City):

Goal X: Establish Clear Limits to Urban De­velopment Outside the Novato City Limits.

Policy X: Urban Growth Boundary Established. An Urban Growth Boundary is established, as shown on LU Map 1. Land use designations outside the Urban Growth Boundary have been established for long term planning purposes. For the duration of the Urban Growth Boundary, development outside the Urban Growth Boundary shall be limited to non-urban agricultural, conservation, parkland, and open space uses except as provided herein.

Program Xa: City Action on Proposals Outside the Urban Growth Boundary.

  1. The City, its departments, boards, commissions, officers and employees, shall not grant or approve any general plan amendment, rezoning or zoning ordinance amendment, specific plan, master plan, precise development plan, tentative or final subdivision map, conditional use permit, building permit or any other discretionary or ministerial land use or development approval or entitlement for urban land uses outside the Urban Growth Boundary except as provided in this policy. All City departments, boards, commissions, officers and employees shall act on all referrals from other agencies regarding the extension or connection of urban services such as sewer or water service, outside the Urban Growth Boundary consistent with the requirements of this policy.
    1. All City departments, boards, commissions, officers and employees shall act on applications for land use approvals, entitlements and permits on properties outside the Urban Growth Boundary consistent with the requirements of this policy and state law in a manner that avoids any approval of such applications by operation of state or other law.
    2. All City departments, boards, commissions, officers and employees shall act on all referrals from other agencies regarding the extension or connection of urban services such as sewer or water service, outside the Urban Growth Boundary consistent with the requirements of this policy and state law in a manner that avoids any approval of such applications by operation of state or other law.
  2. Until December 31, 2042, the foregoing Policy X and Program, X1, X2 and LU Map 1 as it depicts the Urban Growth Boundary may be amended only by a vote of the people or pursuant to the procedures set forth below.
  1. To comply with state law regarding the provision of housing for all economic segments of the community, the City Council may amend the Urban Growth Boundary in order to accommodate lands to be designated for residential uses, provided that no more than ten acres of land may be brought within the Urban Growth Boundary in any calendar year. Such an amendment may be adopted only upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the Council, and if the City Council makes each of the following findings:
    1. That the land is immediately adjacent to existing comparably developed areas and the applicant for the redesignation (or the City if City-initiated) has provided evidence that the Novato Fire Protection District, Novato Police Department, Novato Community Development Department, the North Marin Water District, Novato Sanitary District, and the School District have adequate capacity to accommodate the proposed development and provide it with adequate public services;
    2. That the proposed development will consist of primarily low and very low income housing pursuant to the Housing Element of the General Plan;
    3. That there is no existing residentially designated land available within the Urban Growth Boundary that can feasibly accommodate the proposed development;
    4. That it is not reasonably feasible to accommodate the proposed development by redesignating lands within the Urban Growth Boundary for low and very low income housing; and
    5. That the proposed development is necessary to comply with state law requirements for the provision of low and very low income housing.
  2. To avoid an unconstitutional taking of private property, the City Council may extend the Urban Growth Boundary, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Council, if it finds that:
    1. The implementation and/or application of the UGB would otherwise constitute a taking of a landowners property for which compensation must be paid; and
    2. The extension of the UGB and land use designations associated with the extension will allow additional land uses only to the minimum extent necessary to avoid such a taking of the landowner’s property.
  3. To promote the public health, safety, and welfare, the City Council may, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Council, amend the Urban Growth Boundary if it finds that such amendment is necessary for the development of a public park, public school, public facility, or public open space project, and such amendment is otherwise consistent with the General Plan then in effect.
  4. To promote the public health, safety and welfare, the City Council may, by the affirmative vote of a four-fifths majority of the Council, amend the Urban Growth Boundary for non-residential properties, if the Council makes each of the following findings:
    1. The amendment is the only feasible method of addressing a significant threat to the public health, safety and welfare. Such a threat may be demonstrated by evidence of contamination clearly stated in a letter from the County Health Department or documentation by an independent civil engineer deemed appropriate by City staff;
    2. The amendment would not provide for new development or a change of use which results in intensification of physical impacts;
    3. The amendment involves only developed or substantially developed lands.
  5. To promote the public health, safety and welfare, the City Council may, by the affirmative vote of a four-fifths majority of the Council amend the Urban Growth Boundary for residential properties, if the Council makes the following findings:
    1. The amendment will permit the construction or expansion of a single family residential structure and one accessory dwelling unit) on a legal conforming lot which lot existed on November 7, 2017 (Single Family Residence) and which either: (1) has an existing septic or sewer connection which has failed or is in imminent danger of failure such that it presents a significant threat to public health, safety or welfare. Such a threat may be demonstrated by evidence of contamination clearly stated in a letter from the County Health Department or documentation by an independent civil engineer whichever is deemed appropriate by City staff; or (2) is required by applicable County laws, rules or regulations to connect to the Novato Sanitary District in order to construct or expand such Single Family Residence and the County has denied a waiver to permit a septic system; and
    2. Such proposed construction or expansion will be consistent with the applicable General Plan, Specific Plan, Area Plan, Zoning, Design Guidelines and other applicable laws, rules and regulations; and
    3. Further subdivision of the lot upon which the proposed or expanded single family residence is to be built is prohibited by deed restriction or other legally enforceable covenant.
  6. The City Council may, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Council, exempt projects that have a vested right under law to proceed with development, if the Council determines that the exemption is necessary for the project to proceed consistent with that vested right.

Program Xb: Sphere of Influence. Request that the Marin County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) revise, consistent with state law and Marin LAFCO policies, the Novato Sphere of Influence as appropriate to assist the City with the implementation of the Urban Growth Boundary.

Program Xc: Urban Service Areas. Study potential Urban Service Areas as defined by LAFCO and consider amending the General Plan to delineate them and adopt appropriate policies.

Program Xd: Annexation and Connection to the Novato Sanitary District.

  1. Request that the Marin County Local Agency Formation Commission refer proposals for inclusion in the area served by the Novato Sanitary District to the City for review and comment and act favorably on the City’s recommendations in a manner consistent with the purpose and intent of the Urban Growth Boundary.
  2. Consider, on a case-by-case basis, supporting connection of property outside the City limits to the Novato Sanitary District, if the City determines it necessary for public health and safety, or for any reason defined in the exceptions to the Urban Growth Boundary contained in Program Xc.

Program Xe: Policies and Ordinances of LAFCO, County of Marin, Novato Sanitary District and North Marin Water District. Request that LAFCO, the County of Marin, the Novato Sanitary District and the North Marin Water District recognize the Urban Growth Boundary in their official plans and adopt policies and ordinances consistent with the Urban Growth Boundary consistent with the intent of the voters.

Program Xf: MOUs with LAFCO, County of Marin, Novato Sanitary District and North Marin Water District. Request that LAFCO, the County of Marin, the Novato Sanitary District and the North Marin Water District enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City to recognize the Urban Growth Boundary and assist in the implementation of the policies and programs of the UGB consistent with the intent of the voters.

Program Xg: Coordination with Marin County. Request the County of Marin to work with the City when preparing or amending Community Plans or Specific Plans for the Gnoss Field, Black Point, Indian Valley, and other identified community areas outside the UGB.

Program Xh: Annual Reporting. The Com­mu­nity Development Department will provide an annual report to the City Council at a public meeting identifying the number of UGB amendments and exceptions applied for and granted in the preceding year. The City Council may consider additional growth limitations as necessary based on said report.

SECTION 3. Implementation

  1. Upon the effective date of this initiative, the initiative shall be deemed to have amended the General Plan in accordance with its terms, except that if the four amendments of the mandatory elements of the General Plan permitted by state law for any given calendar year have already been utilized in the year of this initiatives effective date and prior to such effective date, then the General Plan amendment specified herein shall be deemed effective on January 1 of the following year.
  2. If another ballot measure is placed on the same ballot as this initiative, and if such other ballot measure governs growth boundaries or growth policies for the City of Novato or otherwise purports to deal with the same subject matter as this initiative, and if both measures should pass, the voters expressly declare their intent that this measure conflicts with such other measure, and that the measure which obtains the most votes shall control.
  3. Should any section, subsection, clause or provision of this Ordinance for any reason be held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance; it being hereby expressly declared that this Ordinance, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase hereof would have been prepared, proposed, and adopted by the people, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared invalid or unconstitutional.
  4. The General Plan may be reorganized, individual provisions of the General Plan may be renumbered or reordered, and provisions of the General Plan other than the provisions added by this initiative may be amended, by the City Council in the course of ongoing updates of the General Plan in accordance with the requirements of state law. Notwithstanding any such reorganization, renumbering, reordering or amendment of the General Plan, the provisions added to the Plan by this initiative shall continue to be included in the General Plan until the twentieth anniversary of the effective date of this initiative, except to the extent that this initiative has been earlier repealed or amended consistent with its provisions.
  5. Unless a different statute of limitation applies under applicable state or federal law, no action or proceeding challenging all or any part of this initiative shall be maintained unless commenced and service made on the City within 120 days from the date that the vote on this initiative is declared.
  6. Pursuant to California Elections Code Section 9217, if the majority of the voters voting on this initiative vote in its favor, it shall become a valid and binding ordinance ten (10) days after the vote is declared by the City Council.

More information

News (2)

Novato voters to decide fate of greenbelt — October 2, 2017 Marin Independent Journal
Novato Open Space Measure D Meet Up — September 27, 2017 Pacific Sun
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Yes on Measure D

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