During the first two weeks of December, the San Diego City Council dealt a death blow to the Interim Development Ordinance, the slow-growth and environmental protection legislation they passed last June.
Two major projects, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Miramar Ranch North, with more than 10,000 dwelling units, were exempted from the IDO along with 210 more units slated for Pacific Beach and La Jolla. Council members advocating these major exemptions voiced the tired rationale that developer fees and agreements will finance the cost of rapid growth. I believe there is evidence to the contrary: The myth of "pay as you grow" continues to fuel San Diego's building boom.
Last August, Councilman Ed Struiksma gutted the environmental protection of the IDO with exemptions for these projects along the Interstate 15 corridor and Black Mountain Road. It is now clear that our elected officials intend to continue to approve these massive developments, with or without an IDO.
Our City Council, beholden to developer interests for campaign contributions, does not have the will or backbone necessary to "just say no" to new development projects.
The San Diego Assn. of Governments estimates that San Diego will have an additional million people by 2010. If we are to avoid the paving over of our city and the risk to health and safety posed by air pollution, inadequate public services and the contamination of our bays and beaches, we must act now.
In response to this crisis, the Citizens for Limited Growth Quality of Life Initiative has been launched. It calls for a gradual phasing-down of residential development over a four-year period. It ties dwelling unit permits to minimum federal, state and local standards for traffic flow, clean air and water, adequate sewage treatment facilities and solid waste disposal. When these standards are met, limits will no longer apply. Also, the Citizens for Limited Growth initiative establishes critical protection from development for environmentally sensitive canyons, steep slopes, flood plains and wetlands.
To qualify for the ballot in 1988, Citizens for Limited Growth is collecting 70,000 signatures from San Diego voters.
Citizens for Limited Growth is a non-partisan coalition of concerned San Diegans. We are mainstream Americans who believe in the democratic system and the people's right to petition. We are natives as well as newcomers. We have jobs, businesses, families and an abiding desire to keep San Diego liveable. We all know people who've left--people who believed San Diego's amenities have been lost. We are determined to stay and we are determined to make a difference.
We want the system to work. We want elected representatives who are responsive to the concerns of their constituents. We want managed growth and environmental protection. While some council members seem to support managed growth, council actions in the last two weeks show that something more is urgently needed.
Citizens for Limited Growth