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Letter: Goleta’s Measure G would not stifle growth

By   /   Friday, November 2nd, 2012  /   Comments Off

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Dear Editor:

This is in response to the Pacific Coast Business Times’ editorial on Oct. 26 that opposed Goleta’s Measure G2012.

We begin by thanking the newspaper, whom we contacted to clear up a misconception. As a correction has since indicated, Measure G2012 is extremely limited in that it does not affect 121 agricultural parcels in Santa Barbara County that are within the city of Goleta’s planning area unless and until they are included within the city’s jurisdictional boundary. In fact, Measure G2012 at present affects only the six agriculture-zoned parcels of 10 acres or more in size remaining in the city of Goleta, and only for the 20-year duration of Goleta’s general plan.

The correction should put to rest the newspaper’s original concerns about Measure G2012. Measure G2012 only potentially affects other agricultural parcels outside Goleta’s boundaries, and only if they are annexed into the city sometime in the future.

In fact, Measure G2012 was created in support of Goleta’s general plan and its land-use policy to preserve remaining agricultural lands within the city. And as the newspaper noted, “… Goleta’s elected leaders…have approved intelligent and needed projects such as the Cabrillo Business Park and the Willow Springs II housing development, while avoiding the urge to let the city sprawl with the Bishop Ranch proposal for several hundred homes on farmland.”

The Business Times continued by saying that Measure G proponents “… have a valid contention that smart and effective infill development in and around Goleta might meet the region’s needs and avoid tearing up any farmland until at least 20 years from now, when the measure would expire.”

Not mentioned in the original editorial is that Goleta’s general plan already contains more than enough residential zoning to satisfy state housing mandates for the foreseeable future. In fact, currently Goleta has more than 1,400 housing units and nearly 2 million square feet of commercial development being constructed or in the pipeline. The current development plus the additional development already zoned in Goleta’s general plan should be sufficient rebuttal to the newspaper’s headline “Measure would stifle region’s growth.”

The Business Times omitted the fact that G2012 contains three additional limiting exceptions: A rezone of the few agricultural parcels subject to G2012 would not require voter ratification 1) if there is no other location to meet state housing mandates, or 2) if the land is required for a public school or public park, or 3) if there is a violation of the constitutional rights of the property owner.

And if some day the Goleta City Council did choose to rezone any Goleta agricultural parcel of 10 acres or more in size, Measure G2012 does not necessarily stop this from happening. Instead, G2012 requires only that there be affirmation of the Council’s decision by a simple majority of Goleta’s voters.  And contrary to the editorial’s contention, the City Council and any affected developer would most likely determine the timing of the election, probably to go along with a general election to minimize the cost.

We do agree with the editorial’s statement that “Goleta’s existing planning process has served it well.” Indeed, G2012 reinforces Goleta’s general plan by requiring a majority vote of Goletans before its last remaining major agricultural parcels are rezoned by a 3-2 vote of a future City Council. Such a vote of the people is the very definition of democracy.

— George Relles, Goodland Coalition Committee for Measure  G2012, Goleta

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