Stanislaus Voters Approve Growth Control; Housing Projects Win Elsewhere
Stanislaus County voters on Tuesday approved a growth control initiative that prohibits the rezoning of agricultural land to residential uses in unincorporated areas without voter approval.
Two-thirds of voters in the fast-growing Central Valley county approved the "Stamp Out Sprawl" initiative, which was strongly opposed by county supervisors. Voters also approved a less-restrict county alternative, but the citizen initiative received the most votes.
Initiative supporters said Stanislaus County should direct growth to the nine incorporated cities, rather than continuing to permit conversion of agricultural lands.
The initiative's requirement for voters to decide on agricultural land rezoning is similar to the approach approved by voters in Napa and Ventura counties during the 1990s.
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 rejected two parcel tax measures for Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland. Measure B was a hospital-backed initiative, while Measure A was something of a compromise between the hospital and the county. Both would have imposed an annual tax of $24 per residential parcel, $250 for a large business parcel and $100 for a small business lot to raise about $300 million for construction of a new hospital. Measure A would have last 35 years compared with Measure B's 30 years, and Measure A would have given a greater cut to the county to pay for tax administration. County officials disliked both measures because they imposed a tax to pay for a private hospital and placed the burden solely on Alameda County landowners even though the hospital serves the region. Hospital neighbors complained that new hospital facilities would displace families and conflict with the North Oakland neighborhood character.
Measure A (2/3 vote required): No, 59.4%
Measure B (2/3 vote required): No 69.0%
A measure prohibiting the importing of sewage sludge into the county passed easily. The measure is aimed at blocking a "sludge-to-energy" plant proposed by Liberty Energy east of the Salton Sea.
Measure X: Yes, 67.9%
Oakhurst. Voters in this 13-square-mile, 4,200-person community in the foothills along Highways 41 and 49 rejected incorporation. The opposition group Keep Oakhurst Rural Coalition argued that the Local Agency Formation Commission process was skewed and the public was not adequately notified of the incorporation drive. Supporters contended that local residents need more influence over the rapidly growing town's future.
Measure C: No, 57.1%
Voters approved a general plan amendment and zoning change to permit the four-acre Stanly Lane Pumpkin Patch, located in an agricultural zone south of Napa, to have a delicatessen and wine tastings.
Measure K: Yes, 57.3%
City of Newport Beach. Voters approved an initiative that amends the city charter to require a new city hall to be built on city-owned land between MacArthur Boulevard and Avocado Avenue, next to the central library. For years, the city has promised to develop the hilly 12.8-acre site as a park. Initiative proponents said the site offers the cheapest location for a much-needed city hall.
Measure B: Yes, 52.8%
City of San Clemente. A project that involves replacing nine holes of the private Pacific Golf Club with 224 housing units failed at the polls. The project approved last year by the City Council included a development agreement in which landowner Michael Rosenfield would pay $11.5 million for development of a community park and senior center elsewhere in town. Opponents who forced a referendum vote said the development would reduce open space, increase traffic and raise public service costs.
Measure C: No, 68.5%
Wildomar. Incorporation of the community of 29,000 people along Interstate 15 won approval. The incorporation drive followed years of local residents fending off attempts by Lake Elsinore and Murrieta to annex Wildomar.
Measure C: Yes, 60.2%
Rocklin. In a referendum, voters backed developer Rick Massie's proposed 558-unit, 622-acre project in Clover Valley, a growth battle zone for more than 10 years. Project supporters defended the development for maintaining 60% of the site as open space. The United Auburn Indian Community, which owns the nearby Thunder Valley Casino, has promised to buy 154 lots to preserve the remains of an ancient community. Opponents said the entire site should remain undeveloped and complained the project would increase traffic congestion.
Measure H: Yes, 52.8%
San Diego County
City of Coronado. An initiative that would have prohibited any building at the beach — including lifeguard buildings, restrooms or a bike path — without voter approval failed. Meanwhile, a measure asking whether the city may go forward with a planned 2,500-square-foot lifeguard support building won easily.
Proposition A (voter approval requirement): No, 52.9%
Proposition B (lifeguard support building): Yes, 67.7%
A $185 million park bond to pay for development of three new bay front parks and extensive repairs and renovations at existing parks and green spaces was approved.
Proposition A (2/3 vote required): Yes, 71.7%
Santa Clara County
City of Santa Clara. In a referendum election, voters backed a plan to re-use the University of California's 17-acre Bay Area Research Extension Center site for development of 110-single family houses by SummerHill Homes and a 165-unit low-income senior citizens apartment complex by Charities Housing. The university closed the agricultural research center across from Valley Fair mall about five years ago. SummerHill agreed to pay the state $34 million for 11 acres, while the city and Charities Housing agreed to pay $10 million for 6 acres. Development opponents called the site the "last 17 acres of open space in Santa Clara."
Measure A (general plan amendment referendum): Yes, 60.9%
Measure B (rezoning referendum): Yes, 60.5%
Voters endorsed the "Stamp Out Sprawl" initiative prohibiting the rezoning of agricultural land to residential uses without voter approval. Also on the ballot was the county's alternative "Responsible Planning and Growth Control Initiative" proposing a two-year moratorium on agricultural land conversions until the county completes a general plan update. Although both passed, the SOS initiative takes effect because it received more votes.
Measure E (citizen initiative): Yes, 66.9%
Measure L (county alternative), Yes: 63.4%
Not surprisingly, voters turned down the 5,100-unit Yuba Highlands project that the county had approved on 2,900 acres between Beale Air Force Base and Spenceville Wildlife Refuge. In January, developer Gary Gallelli urged voters to reject the project so that he could pursue a scaled-down version.
Measure N: No, 77.6%