READER'S EDITORIAL: PROP B: A RECIPE FOR IRREPARABLE HARM TO SAN DIEGANS

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By Billie Jo Jannen, Chairman, Campo Lake Morena Community Planning Group

October 27, 2016 (Campo) -- The Campo Lake Morena Community Planning Group has voted unanimously to formally oppose Proposition B – a developer-proposed initiative that would allow over 1,700 homes to be built on what is currently farmland, and does so in opposition to both the county general plan and the wishes of community planners and residents.

We believe that the developer, Accretive Investments, hopes that urban voters will believe that the Lilac Hills development is necessary to their well-being. In fact, though, it isn’t. Prop B causes immediate harm to rural communities and future harm to the county as a whole.

The county has a general plan that provides protections to dwindling farmland and open space – elements that benefit everyone in the county, whether urban or rural. These lands provide affordable, locally grown food and opportunities for recreation -- both factors in the long-term health and welfare of San Diego families. They offer living space with cleaner air to people with health challenges and hold increased pollution releases at bay.

For these reasons the general plan specifically forbids leapfrog development: the creation of new high-density enclaves plopped down in the middle of rural communities miles from existing roads and services.  Proposition B asks voters to dump these protections and bypass portions of state environmental laws for the benefit of a single development corporation.

Proposition B also asks voters to overrule the desires of local planners. Imagine if your city council – after multiple hearings and consideration of public input -- voted on an issue of great importance to you. Then imagine that a well-heeled corporation who didn’t like that decision simply went over your council’s head to lure thousands of people who know little or nothing of your city to overrule that decision.

You would feel bullied and disenfranchised – and that’s exactly what you would be. All local determination would be beaten to insignificance by the power of money and the voters it can persuade.

That’s how we feel when our voices and the voices of our rural communities are buried under the resources brought to bear by wealthy interests that would forever re-make our towns into their own images. You who live in incorporated cities are protected from ballot box bullying. We who live in unincorporated communities are not.

Allowing cash to overrule the general plan, environmental protections and the wishes of the communities most affected sets a terrible precedent, and one that is almost guaranteed to come back and bite you later. Please don’t let that happen -- to you or to us. Vote “no” on Prop. B.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.  To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

Comments

Here's a letterfrom a Valley Center farmer on Measure B:

Here is my heartfelt plea on Measure B

I am writing to express my heartfelt feelings on measure B. Accretive, the developer of Lilac Hills Ranch (funny they call it a ranch when they are destroying real farms to build it) has decided to go around the general plan and the laws that were made to create smart growth in San Diego county and put this development Lilac Hills Ranch on the ballot for voters to decide. Voters in all of San Diego county will decide the fate of a community of less than 150K. They have been deceptive with their advertising of affordable housing and less traffic for commuters 1700 homes that is zoned for 110 and farms. No new roads, in the event of a fire evacuation and no new fire stations this is a death trap for us. Our roads are curvy and dangerous already. Homes will not be affordable in this development, they start at 500k. Same developer as San Elijo where they cant even keep businesses thriving in their “ town center”. 12k more cars a day on the 15. We will have to pay for the infrastructure that they aren’t building in taxes. 

would also like to address another issue. I and many others are extremely offended by the verbiage used in the ballot rebuttal for Measure B. They call us “nimbys” sitting in our million dollar homes. This is just more lies. The medium price of a home in valley center is 450,000, far from millionaires. Our schools are almost 50% free and reduced lunches. I’m sure the developer sits in multi million dollar home himself. We are not "nimbys”. We are Farmers, Families with young children, Veterans, Firefighters, Policemen and women, families with horses, we are republicans, democrats, independents, Seniors (many who have lived in the area for over 40 years), we are residents who love our community. We are not against growth, we just expect and deserve for it to be done by the laws that are in place to preserve the beauty and keep us safe. We may be way out here and far away, but we matter. I am all for growth when it meets the general plan that San Diego paid millions to write.

My husband owns two business in San Diego and we farm avocados as well. We have saved for years to be able to live here and not be in a stacked community of homes. We wanted our children to see the stars, have a garden, have horses, ride bikes on dirt roads. This was our choice. We started with nothing in a fixer upper in Valley Center 17 years ago. We recently finished building our home, after 6 years of working hard to get it done. 

I have some questions for supporters of this measure and politicians who have endorsed this. Do you feel that the entire county taxpayers should pay for the roads and other infrastructure that the developer is NOT going to pay for? For the new firestation? Do you feel it is ok to put families that live here already at risk when we have to evacuate when the next big fire comes? Do you feel it is ok to lie to the voters? These are not affordable homes, there will not be jobs for 1700 families in this “town center”. I’m sure you know this, but this development was already denied by the county supervisors, that is why they took it to the ballot.  They knew full well when buying this land that it was AG land and only zoned for 110 homes. They have been quietly buying land and farms under different names for almost 10 years.  Have you researched it at all? Have you ever been to the site and met with the neighbors who have lived here for years before endorsing? Have you seen the roads and the surroundings? Have you seen the thriving local organic and non organic farms that will be gone? The orange and lemon orchards? The veteran farming company that helps veterans learn to farm? The groves that provide food to San Diego? 

Valley Center is a Gem that should be preserved in San Diego County. It should not be turned into Temecula with poor planning and sprawl. Thousands visit every year here to Bates Nut Farm because Valley Center is so beautiful. I have friends who live on woods valley road and can’t get home on the weekends because of the traffic. It will be the same here in the event of likely fire. I genuinely invite you to come visit our beautiful community and see for yourself and meet your neighbors and fellow San Diegans.

Supporters of B and politicians - I’m not sure if you will really think about any of this or take it to heart, but I think it is in your best interest to. By backing this measure and this developer, Accretive, it sets a horrible and dangerous precedent for all developers that it is ok to uses a citizens initiative for a their personal and financial gain. This is a loophole that will be used and abused by more developers all over this county and in the backcountry if this passes.

Thanks for you time reading this and I do hope you will come see this area yourself. Maybe knock on some doors and talk with folks. Come see all the yards with No ON B signs.

Regards,

Shaina Miller