San Diego County residents will vote Nov. 8 on a landmark proposal that, if approved, could change the face of rural inland communities in favor of big development, using the initiative process to push a single builder’s vision. For this reason alone, the North Coast Current urges a “no” vote on Measure B.
Like a similar measure in Carlsbad in 2015 — which was rightfully voted down by residents of that city — Measure B represents an abuse of the political process for individual gain. For the second time in as many years, a single developer and allied political interests seek to sidestep established regulatory processes, such as state and local environmental review.
The county’s impartial ballot analysis states that Measure B “is exempt from the normal environmental review process,” exactly what Caruso Affiliated and Carlsbad city leaders sought to do with their own initiative to push a massive mall development near the environmentally sensitive Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
Measure B is worse given its scale.
According to the ballot language and the proposal overall, Measure B would amend the county’s General Plan specifically to give one development — Accretive Group’s Lilac Hills Ranch Specific Plan in Valley Center — the green light. As critics in Valley Center and throughout the county have noted, the planned community is too big for the rural area, wedged into a region inappropriate for its size, posing serious questions over rural infrastructure capabilities, from fire and rescue service and transportation management to schools and parks management.
Measure B might have been less troublesome were it not for the initiative’s highly specific purpose. This is not an initiative calling for a change in general growth management, produced by elected officials and skilled professionals to create a plan for all San Diegans.
A “no” vote on Measure B sends an important message. The initiative process is not an appropriate venue to upend established regulations for a single party’s gain.
Editorials solely represent the opinions of North Coast Current ownership. The Current welcomes letters to the editor and longer commentaries sharing opposing points of view.
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