“SAFEGUARD OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE” INITIATIVE PROPONENTS SUBMIT SIGNATURES, BUT MAY BE TOO LATE FOR NOVEMBER ELECTION

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East County News Service

July 24, 2018 (San Diego) -- Proponents of the “Safeguard Our San Diego Countrysideballot initiative have submitted 105,000 signatures to the San Diego Registrar of Voters. But Registrar Michael Vu says it’s unlikely that the signatures can be verified before the August 11 deadline for Supervisors to vote to put the measure on the ballot. Supervisors' last meeting before then is August 8.

Vu contends signatures should have been turned in earlier, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. But backers of the slow-growth initiative have indicated they fear Supervisors, who oppose the measure, may seek to delay the action. If the signatures are verified too late for November, the measure would appear on a future ballot.

If passed, the measure would require voter approval of amendments to the San Diego County General Plan that significantly increase density on parcels in the unincorporated county now designated for farming, open space, and wildlife uses--such as the controversial Lilac Hills project in North County.

“Today, we are calling on the Board of Supervisors to respect the will of the people and place our initiative on the November ballot,” says Diane Coombs, Chair of San Diegans for Managed Growth.  “We remind the Board of Supervisors that the County’s motto is “The Noblest Motive is the Public Good.”  The signatures we have submitted today demonstrate that the public wants to vote on our County’s good.  Let us vote.”

“We have spent the last six months collecting signatures all over the County of San Diego, and we have received an amazing response,” says Mark Jackson, Board member of San Diegans for Managed Growth. “San Diegans understand that we need housing, but not just anywhere.  Others agree development should happen in areas where it’s appropriate – in areas that protect the health, safety, welfare and quality of life of County residents.  Not in the middle of nowhere, where infrastructure doesn’t exist.  Not where there is sensitive habitat that would be destroyed.  And especially not in areas of high fire danger.”

 The signature gathering effort began after a group of community leaders grew concerned when the County of San Diego began processing large-scale General Plan Amendments (GPAs) that grossly contradicted land use designations set forth in the San Diego County General Plan adopted in 2011. 

“In 2011, after investing $18.6 million in the process, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a General Plan that encourages development in areas where services and infrastructure already exist,” says Phil Pryde, past chair of the San Diego County Planning Commission. 

“Today, the main reasons for low density in the backcountry hasn’t changed.  We still have limited water supplies, wildlife corridors that need to be protected, aging and poorly maintained infrastructure, and very high fire danger.”

Once initiative signatures are verified by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors can place the proposed initiative on the ballot as early as November 2018.

“Today, we are calling on the Board of Supervisors to respect the will of the people and place our initiative on the November ballot,” says Diane Coombs, Chair of San Diegans for Managed Growth.  “We remind the Board of Supervisors that the County’s motto is “The Noblest Motive is the Public Good.”  The signatures we have submitted today demonstrate that the public wants to vote on our County’s good.  Let us vote.”