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LWV League of Women Voters of California
Smart Voter
Sonoma County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Measure M
Growth Management
City of Healdsburg

Citizen Initiative

2,472 / 55.2% Yes votes ...... 2,003 / 44.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the Ordinance establishing growth control measures limiting annual building permits to 30 per year in the City of Healdsburg be adopted?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
This proposed ordinance is an alternate to Measure L; therefore, if both measures are passed by a majority vote, the one receiving the most votes will control.

Measure M, if adopted by a majority vote, would limit the issuance of building permits for the construction of new residential units within the incorporated boundaries of the City of Healdsburg to an average of thirty (30) units per year, and not to exceed a total of ninety (90) for any three-year period. The first three-year period would begin January 1, 2001, and end December 31, 2003. Each successive three-year period would then follow in order. The only exemptions allowed by this measure are for "low income" and "affordable housing" residential units, as defined by the State Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The measure proposes to supersede and repeal by reference any City ordinance, general plan provision, policy, or any provision of the City's Zoning Code with which it conflicts. This ordinance does not include language for a specific amendment of the City General Plan. If approved by the voters, the provisions contained in the ordinance could only be amended or repealed by a subsequent majority vote of the City's electors at a regularly scheduled election with the single exception that the Healdsburg City Council could impose stricter limitations on the issuance of building permits than those provided for in the measure.

The City receives development fees of approximately $17,500 per unit at the time of building permit issuance. There would be a substantial reduction of development fees estimated by the City Planning and Building Director to be in excess of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), which would result in a material fiscal impact on City services and may defer some public improvement projects such as street projects or park improvements.

s/ Kenneth A. Wilson, City Attorney, City of Healdsburg

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Arguments For Measure M Arguments Against Measure M
Measure M, the "Healdsburg Citizens' Initiative for Real Growth Management", is the only true growth control measure this election. Placed on the ballot by the signatures of 900 of your neighbors, this initiative is a reasonable and necessary step to stop the runaway growth of our City.

Healdsburg is a special place, a community that has a unique character and rich history. However, the growth and development pressures threaten to ruin our town. Healdsburg's growth rate of 4.1 % makes us the second fastest growing city in Sonoma County, even topping Santa Rosa and Windsor.

Measure M, the citizens' measure, limits new residential growth to 30 homes per year with exemptions only for low income and affordable housing, as required by state law. Measure M does not have loopholes that developers can use to avoid growth limits.

In 1996 we passed an Urban Growth Boundary initiative by a 72% margin, a clear message to our elected officials that we want responsible growth, not uncontrolled growth. However, The Healdsburg City Council, wanting to keep the issue of growth in their hands, has placed their own competing growth measure on the November ballot. This measure allows fewer housing permits per year, but beware, you must read the fine print. The City's version has six exemptions that allow for more growth, including a clause allowing an unlimited number of small subdivisions. And the City Council can change or completely abolish growth limits at any time.

In contrast, the Citizens Initiative for Real Growth Management can only be changed by a vote of the people and not the politicians.

If you want to protect and preserve our City, please join Sonoma County Conservation Action, Healdsburg Alliance of Responsible Citizens, and the hundreds of Healdsburg citizens and vote yes on Measure M.

s/ Jim Winston, Retired
s/ Gail Jonas, Attorney and Mediator
s/ Suzanna Wellington, Small Business Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Last year, Healdsburg residents came to City Hall asking for a growth management ordinance and your representatives worked with them to create Measure L.

Measure M simply doesn't work for Healdsburg. If it passes, it will drive housing prices even higher, resulting in fewer families being able live here. The author of Measure M claims it will stop runaway growth, but in fact all it will stop is decent housing for families. The result will be empty schools, higher jobless rates and an exclusive community only for those who can afford it.

Measure M limits growth to 30 units per year yet does nothing for the people of Healdsburg. Nothing to create live/work units, nothing for community care facilities, nothing for small in-fill projects that are important for city centered growth.

The 1996 Urban Growth Boundary initiative established how far we would grow, but not how fast. A combined effort by environmental leaders and the City Council wrote a strict and fair growth measure, but that is not Measure M.

Measure M will gridlock decent housing in Healdsburg for the next sixteen years, and take away our ability to adjust to changing times and needs except by a citywide vote.

To truly protect and preserve our town, please say no to the out of town forces that want to tell us how to manage our City. Support your friends and neighbors and vote no on Measure M.

Thank you.

s/ Mary Lou Eddinger
s/ Jane St. Claire
s/ George W. Small
s/ Eric A. Ziedrich

Everyone agrees that we have had an unprecedented explosion of home building in Healdsburg over the last couple of years. Measure M is a well-intentioned attempt to stop it, but it unfortunately creates more problems than it solves.

The major problem with this ordinance is that it would require a city-wide vote every time changing conditions require that it be updated or changed. A truly effective growth management ordinance represents more than just a set of rules so strict that they can't be changed for 20 years. How many of us knew, 20 years ago, what we would be doing today, or how the passage of time would educate and alter us? An effective growth management system takes work and commitment, and it will have to be changed to meet changing times. Forcing a city-wide vote will be an expensive and pointless hardship for all of us.

Measure M does nothing to encourage affordably-priced housing for our children and grandchildren. It does not provide for live-work units or make allowances for senior care facilities. Measure M will artificially inflate real estate prices, and force more and more of the middle class to flee Healdsburg, to find more affordable housing. Our schools will suffer, our fire department will be understaffed, our teachers and nurses will have to live elsewhere.

In short, there is a better answer to the growth problem. Measure L, the true Citizens Initiative, is a fair and effective growth management program that works for Healdsburg.

Thank you for your time and attention, and please let us know if you have any questions.

s/ Kent Mitchell
s/ Elisabeth J. Hawthorne
s/ Bill Andersen
s/ Chris Baldenhofer

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Our City leaders admit Healdsburg is experiencing uncontrolled growth. What they don't mention is that they have done nothing about it. That is exactly why citizens gathered 900 signatures to qualify a strong and reasonable growth management initiative - Measure M.

Measure M takes the decisions about how much and how fast we grow out of the hands of the politicians and they are hopping mad about it. They claim that reducing our growth rate will hurt our schools and fire departments. The truth is that our rapid growth is stretching the City's ability to provide services, increasing our traffic, and impacting our neighborhoods.

Another red herring raised about Measure M, the Citizens Initiative for Real Growth Management, is it will restrict affordable housing and senior care facilities. This is simply not true. State law requires that affordable housing and senior facilities be exempt from local growth management measures.

Finally, the politicians claim that citizens shouldn't have to vote on the City's growth management every time it needs to be changed. What they propose in their initiative - Measure L - is the ability to change or abolish growth control measures at any time they want by a vote of the City Council. Who do you want to be in control of our growth? The politicians who brought us uncontrolled growth, or the people?

Measure M is the citizen's response to the pressures of growth and development that the politicians couldn't handle. It deserves our support and vote.

s/ Jim Winston, Retired
s/ Gail Jonas, Attorney and Mediator
s/ Suzanna Wellington, Small Business Owner
s/ Tim McClure, Small Business Owner

Text for Measure M
The people of the City of Healdsburg hereby ordain as follows:

Article 1. Initiative Provisions

Part 1. Purpose and Findings.

The people of the City of Healdsburg, hereinafter called "the city", find and declare as follows:

1. The recent rapid increase in residential growth is dramatically changing our small town character and negatively impacting our quality of life.

2. Growth management, in the form of annual allocations of residential building permits as provided below will insure a more responsible growth rate and help maintain open space surrounding the city.

3. Rapid residential growth is a matter of continuing concern to the people of the city because it could tax the city's ability to provide adequate public facilities to meet the requirements of that growth.

Part 11. Annual Building Permit Allocations:

1. Subject to the exclusions listed below, permits for the construction of new residential units within the incorporated boundaries of the city, shall be limited to a an average of 30 units per year and in no case shall exceed 90 for any three year period.

2. The initial three year period shall begin as of the effective date of this ordinance, January 1, 2001 and terminate December 31, 2003 and each successive three year period shall follow in order.

Part 111. Exemptions.

1. Low income and affordable residential units, as defined by the State Department of Housing and Urban Development, are exempted from the limitations established above.

Part IV. Existing Law.

This ordinance supersedes and repeals any City ordinance, general plan provision or policy or any provision of the City's zoning code which conflicts with it.

Part V. Severability.

1. If any provision of this article, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstances, shall be held invalid, the remainder of this article to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provision to Persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this Extent the provisions of this article are severable.

Part VI, Amendments and Additional Requirements.

1. No amendment or repeal of any provision of this article shall be effective unless approved by a majority of the city's electors at a regularly scheduled election.

2. Nothing in this article prevents the Healdsburg City Council from imposing stricter limitations on the issuance of building permits than provided for in this measure.

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Created: January 25, 2001 02:35
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