January 18 – SDUT – Jeff McDonald reports – The Climate Action Campaign, a San Diego nonprofit dedicated to promoting renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, became the latest of many groups to release recommendations about a pair of high-profile development-related initiatives on the March ballot.

The climate group is recommending that San Diego County voters support Measure A and reject Measure B.

If passed, Measure A would require that voters approve applications for developments that rely on changes to the adopted county general plan, the long-term planning document that is supposed to dictate where new construction can be located.

The initiative has been supported by citizens and groups concerned that the county Board of Supervisors too often allows housing and other development projects in rural areas that are not zoned for such construction.

Climate Action Campaign has been fighting since day one for a region that says yes to affordable housing near jobs and transit, and no to sprawl,” the organization said in a statement issued Friday.

“Yes on A will safeguard the smart growth vision of the general plan and give our region a fighting chance to meet the climate goals that are critical to achieving a safe and livable future for kids growing up today.”

Measure B asks voters to approve a specific housing project north of Escondido called Newland Sierra that has been in the works for years. The development plan calls for 2,135 homes, 81,000 square feet of retail space and a school on property just west of Interstate 15 that was zoned for fewer than 100 homes.

The county Board of Supervisors in 2018 approved an amendment to the general plan to allow the development, but a group of citizens largely backed by owners of the Golden Door luxury spa qualified the measure for a countywide vote.

The climate action group opposes Measure B.

“Together we can reject business-as-usual sprawl development and embrace smart growth to meet our housing and climate goals,” the climate group said. “In March, this means saying yes to Measure A and no to Measure B.”

Most San Diego County developers and building industry groups have taken an opposite stance, opposing Measure A and endorsing Measure B.

The No on Measure A campaign said the measure would promote “ballot-box planning” and is unfair because it would let voters countywide determine whether projects could go forward in faraway neighborhoods. They also say it would harm the economy and create a loophole that won’t restrict other kinds of development, such as casinos, hotels, resorts, factories, or country clubs.

The Yes on B – Better Choice campaign said the housing project north of Escondido would provide homes for families, add new parkland and preserve open space. The group also said it will reduce traffic congestion and be better for the environment.

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