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Here’s How Proposition A Will Work

Following are several questions and answers meant to help explain how Proposition A--the urban growth initiative passed Tuesday by 56.1% of the city’s voters--will work:

Question. When will Proposition A take effect?

Answer. According to Deputy City Atty. Jack Katz, the measure will become a city ordinance as soon as the election results are verified by the county registrar of voters and the city clerk, a process that normally takes less than a month. The provisions of Proposition A, however, are retroactive to Aug. 1, 1984.

Q. What is the measure designed to accomplish?

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A. Proposition A is meant to give the city’s voters a chance to ratify any decision of the City Council allowing development before 1995 in what is known as the “future urbanizing area.” Its drafters say the measure was also meant to discourage the City Council from approving such developments in the first place.

Q. How much of the city’s land will be affected, and where is that land?

A. There are currently 52,273 acres in the future urbanizing area. More than half of that land (27,393 acres) is owned by the military and the San Diego Unified Port District. About 10,300 acres are in the San Pasqual Valley, 8,400 acres in the North City area, 2,680 acres in Beeler Canyon (south of Poway) and 3,400 acres in the Tijuana River Valley. In addition, La Jolla Valley, the 5,100-acre area that was shifted out of the future urbanizing zone in September, 1984, will be put back under that restriction unless Proposition A is overturned by the courts.

Q. Is there any way for land in the future urbanizing area to be built on without the voters’ approval?

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A. Yes. Most of the land in the future urbanizing area is now zoned for agricultural use, with one home allowed on each 10 acres. Property owners will still be allowed to build according to that zoning and will be able to build what are called “planned residential developments” without voter approval. Planned residential developments allow property owners to build as many as one house per four acres and to build the homes in clusters while leaving the remainder of their land as open space.

Q. What will trigger a citywide referendum on a development in one of those areas?

A. Anytime the City Council decides to shift land from the future urbanizing area to what is called the “planned urbanizing area,” the voters will have the opportunity to ratify or reject the decision. Large-scale developments cannot be built unless the land’s designation is shifted to planned urbanizing. Developers will not be able to use this process to overturn a City Council decision preventing them from building on their land.

Q. When will the elections be held?

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A. It is still unclear at just what point in the city’s approval process the elections--if needed--will be held. The drafters of Proposition A left to the City Council the decision on whether to hold the referendum before a developer’s plans are reviewed by the city or after specific plans for a project have been put forth and approved by the council.

Q. Will the city call special elections or will the development issues be placed on regularly scheduled ballots? Who will pay for the elections?

A. The City Council will have the option of calling a special election or placing the issue on a regular ballot. Developers will probably have to pay the cost of a special election, and taxpayers would share the burden of a referendum placed on a regular ballot.

Q. Will Proposition A be challenged in the courts?

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A. Although opponents of the measure vowed during the campaign to challenge Proposition A in court if it were approved by the voters, spokesmen for the Campus Crusade for Christ and Pardee Construction Co.--the measure’s two strongest opponents--said Wednesday that they had not decided whether to follow through with that threat. Deputy City Atty. Fred Conrad said the city is prepared to defend the measure should it be challenged.


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