The leaders of Citizens for Limited Growth, a community group sponsoring two slow-growth initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot, Friday demanded that a construction industry campaign committee correct the “outrageous lies” in its latest direct mail literature.
The group held a press conference and delivered a letter to Jean Andrews, political consultant for San Diegans for Regional Traffic Solutions, declaring that “the building industry campaign has apparently gone from exaggeration and distortion to outright lies in an attempt to convince voters that rapid growth is great.”
Co-chairmen Tom Mullaney and Linda Martin directed their anger at a four-page mailer, which asserts that Propositions D and J would require homeowners to obtain an environmental impact report to add a room to their homes. The mailer asserts that the process would take years and cost each family $10,000.
Mullaney asserted that the initiatives specifically exclude single-family-home remodeling from special protections designed to limit construction on hillsides, canyons, wetlands and flood plains.
Campaign Underestimated Cost
But Andrews and Kim Kilkenny, legislative counsel for the Construction Industry Federation, said that their analysis of the initiative shows that homeowners would not be allowed to add the room without obtaining an environmental impact report, and that the campaign had actually underestimated the cost of that process.
Andrews said that the mailer would not be retracted. “This is factually correct,” she said.
However, Dave Potter, deputy planning director for the city of San Diego’s environmental quality division, said it is unlikely that a homeowner would need the report just to add a room or remodel a home, even if the home sits on so-called environmentally sensitive lands.
A state law allows the planning department to exempt any room additions from that requirement, if the homeowner meets certain criteria, he said.
“It seems unlikely that that would be required just for a small addition,” Potter said. He said he could not think of a case where an environmental impact report was required for a room addition.
Andrews conceded that the mailer does not make clear that it applies only to homes on environmentally sensitive lands. But she called the hypothetical case a likely scenario.
The community group leaders also repeated their demand that the builders group cease distributing flyers that assert that the Sierra Club has endorsed rival county Proposition B, and others claiming that apartment rents would double under Propositions D and J.
The builders have admitted that both statements are wrong. Andrews said that copies of both continue to be circulated because they were already distributed or being printed when the errors were discovered.