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Land Rights Still Mean Something

Land Rights Still Mean Something

If the March 2 primary election showed us anything, it’s that people are very particular about how the open space around them is developed.

Several land-use issues went before voters on Super Tuesday, and while it may seem there were conflicting interests on the overall outcome, voters nonetheless held true to what they felt was best for their communities.

In San Marcos, voters told the city that no way, no how were they going to let a second Wal-Mart be dropped in the middle of a residential neighborhood, no matter how city leaders had voted just six months earlier.

The North County community rejected Proposition G, which would have granted a rezoning of 20 acres in the city’s southwest corner to accommodate a 139,000-square-foot Wal-Mart. Despite the seemingly endless battering the retail giant endures these days , Wal-Mart is facing other more stringent ballot measures across the state this year.

The vote slapped the city’s wrists for poor land-use planning as opposed to everyday low prices on paper towels and juice boxes in their back yard. And really, when it comes down to it, just how many Wal-Marts does a city of 65,000 people really need?

Down Interstate 15 in Poway, voters soundly rejected Proposition E, a plan to rezone 20 acres of rural land for commercial purposes. Property owner Zip Lucidi wanted to build an RV storage facility and a gas station at Poway Road and Highway 67.

As honest as Lucidi’s intentions might have been , he promised that’s the only commercial development that would take place on his property , Poway voters nonetheless rejected the idea based primarily on the fear of major development of the city’s last big parcels of land.

But it was the overwhelming rejection of Proposition A that really made a bold statement about land use issues. In fact, it was evident voters didn’t merely look at it as an anti-growth, stop Los Angelization now ballot.

The countywide measure , it’s the second time in six years voters have rejected this proposal , would have affected some 700,000 acres in the county’s backcountry. Voters clearly saw this as a property rights issue, though both sides seemed to do their best to obfuscate the true intentions of the ballot.

Rather than amending the county’s current General Plan , which is close to being reconfigured already , voters again decided to leave it up to those who own the land. By the end of the year, county supervisors plan to have their new blueprint for growth in place.

Proposition A imperiled six long years of hard work by a cross section of business, environmental and community leaders compiling the so-called General Plan 2020.

Its rejection also leaves the power of regional planning where it belongs , in the hands of our elected leaders.

Though it can lead to haphazard planning, ballot box planning has its place. San Marcos voters taking matters into their own hands after a poor decision by their elected leaders is one such case.

Still, it’s no way to develop a community, unless it’s voters choosing representatives they think best reflect their values on properly managing growth throughout San Diego County.

, Rick Bell

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