This past year demonstrated that regional issues do not end where the Coronado Bridge begins. On Tuesday, March 3, voters from San Diego County will be casting ballots on two regional measures, Measure A and Measure B, that will help shape the future of housing development in our region for decades to come.
Neither of these two measures directly involve Coronado, but they both have implications for our future housing requirements.
The passage of Measure A would require all new housing developments with more than six units in the unincorporated area of San Diego County be subject to voter approval from the entire electorate of San Diego County, if the development requires a General Plan amendment. Currently, the County Board of Supervisors has the authority to approve General Plan amendments without voter approval. Subjecting each new development to voter approval is a very expensive proposition and would make housing even less affordable in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.
Measure B, known as the “Better Choice Measure,” is a preview of what’s to come if Measure A passes. A new housing development, Newland Sierra, is proposed for the unincorporated area of North County, near San Marcos, Vista, and Escondido. The 2,000+ acres of land are currently zoned to allow for just 99 homes and 2 million square feet of commercial space. In response to the housing shortage in the San Diego region, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a General Plan amendment to allow the Newland Sierra project to create 2,135 new homes – 60 percent of which will be affordably priced for working families, 1,209 acres of permanent open space, 36 acres of parks and 19 miles of trails. Opponents to the development have now spent over $1 million in opposition to force a county-wide vote on this single project.
Both local political parties encourage a “No” vote on Measure A. All of the North County mayors, where the Newland Sierra project is proposed, encourage a “Yes” vote on Measure B.
The Coronado City Council has not taken an official position on Measure A or B; however, it is my personal opinion that our entire region will be better off if all jurisdictions, including the County of San Diego, maintain flexibility in their planning decisions. If Measure A passes and Measure B fails, the results will be fewer housing developments in the unincorporated area of San Diego County and greater pressure for infill development in existing cities such as Coronado.
I personally encourage Coronado residents to vote “No” on Measure A and “Yes” on Measure B.