This is an archive of a past election.|
See http://www.smartvoter.org/ca/sn/ for current information.
League of Women Voters of California
Urban Growth Boundary
City of Sonoma
2,966 / 63.7% Yes votes ...... 1,689 / 36.3% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
Shall the ordinance amending the City of Sonoma General Plan to establish an urban growth boundary be adopted?
If area outside of the UGB is annexed into the City, the measure would restrict such area to open spaces uses, agricultural uses, public schools and public parks. Under certain narrow conditions listed in the ordinance, the City Council could amend the location of the UGB to allow certain other specified uses of the land affected.
The measure would permit the UGB to be amended by the City Council in three situations. The first allows for the UGB to be changed to provide for housing primarily for low and very low income households, This exception can be used only in limited situations, for a maximum of five acres in one year and a total of twenty acres during the life of the measure. The second allows for the UGB to be relocated where to not do so would result in an unconstitutional taking of a person's property and only to the extent necessary to avoid a taking. The two provisions above may occur only after notice and a public hearing. Separately, the City Council could amend the location of the boundary to constrict the boundary. The measure would continue in effect until December 31, 2020, and until that date could only be amended by a vote of the people.
s/ John W. Truxaw, City Attorney
News and Analysis|
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
|Arguments For Measure S||Arguments Against Measure S|
|A "yes" vote on Measure S will prevent continued urban sprawl and will help shift city development from a developer to a citizen-driven process.
Measure S stops sprawl by creating a boundary around the city of Sonoma for the next 20 years which can only be changed by a vote of the citizens. This measure is a formidable solution to the problems of sprawl and the lack of opportunity for citizens to participate in development decisions about Sonoma's future. The UGB does not change the city's existing Growth Management Ordinance, which limits residential development to 100 homes a year, and provides more than enough land to accommodate such growth. When the UGB is enacted Sonoma will Join the vast majority of cities in Sonoma County, which have approved UGBs.
There is no evidence that the UGB will increase housing costs. In fact, in other Sonoma County cities with UGBs, housing costs rise less quickly than in cities which don't have UGBs. The UGB can be modified by a simple vote of the people to accommodate special needs such as a hospital or school.
The citizens of Sonoma strongly support the preservation of open space, agriculture and a smaller-scale community with livable neighborhoods and an exceptionally fine quality of life. The UGB will reinforce these goals as development pressure mounts over the next 20 years.
Give our citizens the power to decide how large our city will grow. Vote "yes" on Measure S.
s/ Larry Barnett, Mayor of Sonoma
The City of Sonoma, along with the County of Sonoma has made great strides to make sure sprawl does not occur here. They have joined together to form an Urban Service Boundary that encompasses not only the city but the unincorporated area of the valley as well to ensure against sprawl. An Urban Growth Boundary will divide our valley and the efforts we have gained as an extended community.
It takes good planning to ensure good land use, open spaces and housing opportunities. The majority of the community was not involved in the creation of this measure. Planning, not plotting is the key to a continued successful City (and Valley) of Sonoma.
Sonoma is not like any other city in Sonoma County. Prices for land and homes will increase. The pressure put on properties to develop outside the UGB will multiply. The open space and agricultural areas you enjoy will be in jeopardy.
Unnecessary elections cost money; your money. There are already protections in place to guard against sprawl. We do not need this legislation. Vote No on Measure S
s/ Phyllis Carter, Member, Sonoma City Council
|The City of Sonoma already has a restricted sphere of influence. Reinforcing the sphere of influence, the City and the County, with community input, jointly adopted an urban service boundary that prevents sewer connections outside of the sphere of influence and sanitation district service area through the year 2008. In addition, Sonoma's Growth Management Ordinance, adopted in 1980, limits residential development within Sonoma to a maximum of 100 units per year. Effective controls are in place right now to prevent sprawl. The proposed UGB measure would short-circuit the normal process, cutting out planning, the environment, and the public.
In Oregon where the concept originated, planning studies were undertaken first in order to determine the optimal size of the UGB. A UGB based on thorough study of land supply, and developed with full public participation, may indeed be a good planning tool. A UGB lacking these essential qualities, as is the case with the current proposal, can be a danger for the future balance of the area.
Rising land costs associated with the constricted supply will inflate housing prices. This will greatly increase the difficulty and expense of developing affordable housing. Since low and very-low income housing can only be built with government subsidies, these costs are ultimately borne by local taxpayers.
The UGB has nothing to do with agriculture. The line itself is the city's existing sphere of influence. There is no thought given to adjusting this boundary to correspond to agricultural uses. Instead, the public would be "protected": from the annexation of existing uses such as homes and small businesses that might be more appropriately located within city limits.
We urge you to vote No on Measure S.
s/ Phyllis Carter, Member, Sonoma City Council
The Growth Management Ordinance limits the total number of homes that can be built, but not where they can be built. It does nothing to control the expansion of commercial development. The UGB is a proven method to prevent both types of sprawl.
The UGB has been extensively discussed in numerous public meetings for six years by the City Council and the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission. It has been thoroughly studied, researched and approved by professional planners. It allows for the expansion of the city limit, if needed, for the creation of affordable housing. Affordable housing costs are not borne by the taxpayer, but are mandated by the state and built with funds set aside in the City's Redevelopment Agency. The UGB will not raise home prices. Sonoma and Cloverdale are the only cities in Sonoma County without a UGB, and their home prices are rising faster than in the other Sonoma County cities.
Sonomans consistently vote to protect precious open space, as the vote against Rosewood proved. Now it's time to draw the line on sprawl.
Stop Sprawl! Vote Yes on Measure S
s/ Ken Brown, Councilman, City of Sonoma
|Text for Measure S|
|The people of the City of Sonoma do hereby ordain as follows:
City of Sonoma Urban Growth Boundary Initiative
Section 1. Purpose and Findings.
A. Purpose. The purpose of this initiative is to amend the City of Sonoma 1995-2005 General Plan ("General Plan") to establish an Urban Growth Boundary ("UGB") for the City of Sonoma. This initiative promotes stability in long-term planning for the City of Sonoma by setting a cornerstone policy within the General Plan establishing the geographic limits of long-term development, while allowing sufficient flexibility within those limits to respond to the City's changing needs over time. The UGB is a line beyond which urban development will not be allowed, except for public schools and public parks. Only uses consistent with the General Plan "agricultural" land use designation as it exists on February 25, 2000 (the provision defining such uses is attached hereto as Exhibit A) and the definition of "open space lands" as set forth in Government Code section 65560(b) as of February 25,2000 (attached hereto as Exhibit B) will be allowed beyond the UGB. With certain exceptions, this UGB cannot be amended until December 31, 2020, except by a vote of the people.
B. Findings. The people of the City of Sonoma find that this initiative promotes the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life of the residents of the City of Sonoma, based upon the following:
1. The City of Sonoma's Small-Town Character. The City of Sonoma was founded in 1835 as a mission town and has maintained its unique historic and small-town character through development that reveals a strong sense of relationship to its historic features. This initiative promotes the City's commitment to its small-town character by concentrating future development largely within existing developed areas.
2. The City of Sonoma's Agricultural Heritage. The City of Sonoma is surrounded largely by agricultural land and open space. The greenbelt around the City supports a healthy agricultural industry that is the mainstay of the vibrant local economy. This initiative protects the City's rich agricultural heritage by directing future urban development inside the UGB and promoting uses that foster public health and safety and productive investment in agriculture on lands outside the UGB.
3. The City of Sonoma's Natural Environment. The physical boundaries surrounding the City of Sonoma include hillsides, agriculture, riparian corridors, and parks, which provide a natural greenbelt that contributes to the scenic beauty of Sonoma. This initiative protects these natural resources by directing future development inside the UGB and promoting open space uses that are compatible with the natural environment outside of the UGB.
4. The City of Sonoma's Housing Supply. The General Plan promotes efficient and affordable housing development in the City through measures such as the requirement of inclusionary units, density bonuses, encouraging infill development, facilitating the construction of second dwelling units, and seeking to diversify housing opportunities in the City. As a result, residential and other land use policies and provisions established by the General Plan are sufficient to address the expected increase in the City's population. This initiative will not impede the City's ability to continue to meet the housing needs of all economic segments of the population, including lower and moderate income households. It will promote this goal by directing housing development into areas where services and infra- structure can be provided more cost-effectively.
5. The City of Sonoma's Economy. Carefully planned non-residential development in the City of Sonoma can help match jobs with housing opportunities in the area, by taking into account both housing costs and prevailing wages. A true balance of jobs and housing will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and lessen pressures for urban sprawl. This initiative promotes the City of Sonoma's economy by fostering and protecting the small-town character of the City while allowing appropriate economic development in accordance with the City's unique local conditions.
6. The City of Sonoma's Existing Urban Boundary Goal and Policies. Goal CDE-1 of the General Plan, adopted on August 30, 1995 by the City Council, calls for establishing and maintaining "a definitive urban boundary beyond which only uses compatible with preserving agriculture and open space resources shall be allowed." General Plan policies that further Goal CDE-1 identify this urban boundary as the City of Sonoma's designated sphere of influence line. This initiative implements Goal CDE-1 of the General Plan by expressly establishing the envisioned urban growth boundary as coextensive with the limits of the City of Sonoma's designated sphere of influence as of February 25, 2000.
7. Inapplicability to Sonoma's Sphere of Influence. Although established in the same location as the sphere of influence line as it exists as of February 25, 2000, as shown in the attached Exhibit C (copy of the City's most current Land Use Plan map), the UGB is not intended to and shall in no way inhibit the Local Agency Formation Commission from changing or altering the sphere of influence line in accordance with state law. The two lines, although coextensive as of one point in time, are independent one from the other in legal significance and purpose. Whereas the sphere of influence line may be altered by the Local Agency Formation Commission in accordance with the provisions of state law, the UGB is a local land use policy of the City and shall not be repealed or altered except as expressly provided in this initiative. Attached for illustrative purposes only is a map of the City's Planning Area (attached as Exhibit D).
Section 2. General Plan Amendment.
The City of Sonoma 1995-2005 General Plan, adopted August 30, 1995, as amended through February 25, 2000 ('General Plan"), is hereby amended as follows:
A. General Plan Land Use Plan Map Amendment:
The General Plan Land Use Plan map, at page 30 of the General Plan Community Development Element is hereby amended to establish an Urban Growth Boundary in a location identical to the line designating the location of the sphere of influence as shown in the attached Exhibit C. Though the location of the two lines is identical as of a certain point in time, the lines are independent from another in legal significance and purpose, and a change in one would not cause a change in the other.
B. General Plan Text Amendments:
1. Explanation of Urban Growth Boundary.
The following text, as indicated in bold type, is added to page 7 of the General Plan Community Development Element after the section entitled "GROWTH MANAGEMENT":
URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY
The People of the City of Sonoma approved an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 2000 to protect the unique small-town character of the City and the agricultural and open space character of the surrounding areas. The UGB is a line beyond which urban development will not be allowed, except for public parks and public schools. Only uses consistent with the General Plan "agricultural" land use designation as it exists on February 25, 2000 and the definition of "open space lands" set forth in Government Code section 65560(b) as of February 25, 2000 are allowed beyond the UGB. The UGB is established by the policies implementing Goal CDE-1; its location is shown in this General Plan's Land Use Plan map.
Sonoma's UGB reflects a commitment to focus future growth within the City in order to prevent urban sprawl into the agriculturally and environmentally sensitive areas surrounding the City. The UGB protects the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life of the residents of Sonoma by concentrating future residential, commercial, and industrial growth in areas already served by urban services. The policies implementing the UGB allow sufficient flexibility within its limits to respond to the City's changing needs over time. The UGB complements General Plan policies promoting additional housing opportunities, emphasizing infill development, and supporting a thriving downtown center.
2. Amendment of Urban Boundary Goal.
Goal CDE-1 on page 19 of the General Plan Community Development Element is hereby amended as set forth below. In this section 2.B.2. of the initiative, text to be inserted into the General Plan is indicated in bold type. Text in standard type currently appears in the General Plan:
Goal CDE-1 Establish and maintain a definitive urban growth boundary (UGB), which shall be set forth on the Land Use Plan map, beyond which only uses compatible with preserving agriculture and open space resources shall be allowed.
3. Adoption of Urban Growth Boundary Policies.
The following policies, as indicated in bold type, are added to page 20 of the General Plan Community Development Element, immediately following Community Development Element Policy 4.
4.1 Urban Growth Boundary: An Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is established at the location shown on this General Plan's Land Use Plan map. The UGB is a line beyond which urban development will not be allowed, except for public parks and public schools. Only uses consistent with the General Plan "agricultural" land use designation as it exists on February 25,2000 and the definition of "open space lands" set forth in Government Code section 65560(b) as of February 25, 2000 will be allowed beyond the UGB.
4.2 UGB Implementation: Until December 31, 2020, the following General Plan provisions, as adopted by the City of Sonoma Urban Growth Boundary Initiative, may not be amended except by a vote of the people: (i) the section entitled "URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY" in the Community Development Element; (ii) Goal CDE-1; (iii) Community Development Element Policy 4.1; and (iv) this policy 4.2. Until December 31, 2020, the location of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map may be amended only by a vote of the people, or by the City Council pursuant to the procedures set forth in (a) through (d) below.
a. The City Council may, if it deems it to be in the public interest, amend the location of the UGB depicted in the Land Use Plan map, provided that the amended boundary is within or coextensive with the limits of the UGB as established by the City of Sonoma Urban Growth Boundary Initiative.
b. To comply with state law regarding the provision of housing for all economic segments of the community, the City Council may amend the location of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map to accommodate lands to be designated for residential uses provided that no more than five (5) acres of land may be brought within the UGB in any calendar year, and that no more than a total of twenty (20) acres may be brought within the UGB under this provision prior to December 31, 2020. Such an amendment may be adopted only if the City Council makes the following findings based on substantial evidence:
(1) That the land is immediately adjacent to (a) the existing UGB, and (b) serviceable water and sewer connections; and
(2) That the proposed development will consist of primarily low- and very low-income housing pursuant to the Housing Element of this General Plan; and
(3) That there is no existing vacant or undeveloped residentially-designated land within the UGB to accommodate the proposed development and it is not reasonably feasible to accommodate the proposed development by redesignating lands within the UGB for low-and very low-income housing; and
(4) That the proposed development is necessary to comply with state law requirements for the provision of low- and very low-income housing and the area of land within the proposed development will not exceed the minimum necessary to comply with state law.
c. Upon request of an affected landowner with a pending development application, the City Council may amend the location of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map if it makes both of the following findings based on substantial evidence:
(1) That the application of any aspect of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map would constitute an unconstitutional taking of a landowner's property, and
(2) That the amendment and associated land use designation will allow additional land uses only to the minimum extent necessary to avoid such a taking of the landowner's property.
d. Prior to amending the location of the UGB pursuant to subparagraphs b. or c. of this policy, the City Council shall hold at least one noticed public hearing for the purpose of receiving testimony and evidence from the applicant and the public on the proposed amendment and any findings proposed in connection with such amendment. This hearing shall be in addition to any other public hearings regularly required for a General Plan amendment.
e. The General Plan may be reorganized, and individual provisions may be renumbered or reordered in the course of ongoing updates of the General Plan in accordance with the requirements of state law, but the following General Plan provisions shall continue to be included in the General Plan until December 31, 2020, unless earlier repealed or amended by the voters of the City or, with respect to the location of the UGB as depicted on the Land Use Plan map, by the voters of the City or pursuant to the procedures set forth above: (i) the section entitled "URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY" in the Community Development Element; (ii) Goal CDE-1; (iii) Community Development Element Policy 4.1; (iv) the location of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map; and (v) this policy 4.2. After December 31, 2020, this policy 4.2 shall not apply, and the City Council, if it deems it in the public interest, may amend the above-referenced General Plan provisions addressed by this policy in accordance with state law without a vote of the people.
f. The City, and its departments, boards, commissions, officers and employees, shall not approve any general plan amendment, zoning amendment, specific plan, specific plan amendment, rezoning, subdivision map, conditional use permit, or any other entitlement which is inconsistent with the following provisions of the General Plan: (i) the section entitled "URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY" in the Community Development Element; (ii) Goal CDE-1; (iii) Community Development Element Policy 4.1; (iv) the location of the UGB depicted on the Land Use Plan map; and (v) this policy 4.2. Any general plan amendment, zoning amendment, rezoning, specific plan, specific plan amendment subdivision map, conditional use permit or any other entitlement approved by the City on land brought within the UGB under paragraphs (b) or (c) of this policy 4.2 must be consistent with the findings made in connection with that land's inclusion within the UGB.
Section 3. Implementation,
A. Effective Date. Upon the effective date of this initiative, the provisions of section 2 of this initiative are hereby inserted into the Community Development Element of the City of Sonoma General Plan as an amendment thereof, except that if the four amendments of the mandatory elements of the General Plan permitted by state law for any given calendar year have already been utilized in 2000 prior to the effective date of this initiative, this general plan amendment shall be the first amendment inserted into the City's General Plan on January 1, 2001. At such time as this general plan amendment is inserted in the City of Sonoma General Plan, any provisions of the City of Sonoma Zoning Ordinance, as reflected in the ordinance text itself or in the City of Sonoma Zoning Map, inconsistent with this general plan amendment shall not be enforced.
B. Interim Amendments. The City of Sonoma General Plan in effect at the time the Notice of Intention to circulate this initiative measure was submitted to the City of Sonoma Election Official on February 25, 2000, and that General Plan as amended by this initiative measure, comprise an integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement of policies for the City of Sonoma. In order to ensure that the City of Sonoma General Plan remains an integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement of policies for the City as required by state law and to ensure that the actions of the voters in enacting this initiative are given effect, any provision of the General Plan that is adopted between the submittal date and the date that the General Plan is amended by this measure shall, to the extent that such interim-enacted provision is inconsistent with the General Plan provisions adopted by section 2 of this initiative measure, be amended as soon as possible and in the manner and time required by State law to ensure consistency between the provisions adopted by this initiative and other elements of the City's General Plan.
C. Other City Ordinances and Policies. The City of Sonoma is hereby authorized and directed to amend the General Plan, all specific plans, the zoning ordinance, and other ordinances and policies affected by this initiative as soon as possible and in the manner and time required by any applicable state law to ensure consistency between the goals, objectives and policies adopted in section 2 of this initiative and other elements of the City's General Plan, all specific plans, the zoning ordinance, and other City ordinances and policies.
Section 4. Exemptions for Certain Projects.
This initiative shall not apply to any of the following: (1) any project that has obtained as of the effective date of the initiative a vested right pursuant to state or local law; and (2) any area contained within a Redevelopment Plan, under California law that is beyond the power of the local voters to affect by the initiative power reserved to the people via the California Constitution. Nothing in this initiative precludes the use of density bonuses in accordance with state law.
Section 5. Construction and Severability.
This initiative shall be broadly construed in order to achieve the purposes stated in this initiative. This initiative shall be interpreted so as to be consistent with all federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, part, or portion of this initiative is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the initiative. The voters hereby declare that this initiative, and each section, sub-section, sentence, clause, phrase, part, or portion thereof would have been adopted or passed even if one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases, parts, or portions are declared invalid or unconstitutional. If any provision of this initiative is held invalid as applied to any person or circumstance, such invalidity shall not affect any application of this initiative that can be given effect without the invalid application.
Section 6. Amendment or Repeal.
Except as otherwise provided herein, this initiative may be amended or repealed only by the voters of the City of Sonoma at a City election.
The following language appears on page 17 of the Community Development Element of the City of Sonoma 1995-2005 General Plan:
Agricultural: This designation is to protect remaining tracts of productive agriculture within city limits, including grazing lands, truck farms, vineyards, and crop production.
Density: I unit per 10 acres (excluding second units). Density bonus of 25%.
Intensity. 30-foot height limit (excluding agricultural processing facilities, which may be higher subject to use permit review) and a maximum coverage of 30%.
GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 65560
Sec. 65560. Definitions
(a) "Local open-space plan" is the open-space element of a county or city general plan adopted by the board or council, either as the local open-space plan or as the interim local open-space plan adopted pursuant to Section 65563.
(b) "Open-space land" is any parcel or area of land or water which is essentially unimproved and devoted to an open-space use as defined in this section, and which is designated on a local, regional or state open-space plan as any of the following:
(1) Open space for the preservation of natural resources including, but not limited to, areas required for the preservation of plant and animal life, including habitat for fish and wildlife species; areas required for ecologic and other scientific study purposes; rivers, streams, bays and estuaries; and coastal beaches, lakeshores, banks of rivers and streams, and watershed lands.
(2) Open space used for the managed production of resources, including but not limited to, forest lands, rangeland, agricultural lands and areas of economic importance for the production of food or fiber; areas required for recharge of ground water basins; bays, estuaries, marshes, rivers and streams which are important for the management of commercial fisheries; and areas containing major mineral deposits, including those in short supply.
(3) Open space for outdoor recreation, including but not limited to, areas of outstanding scenic, historic and cultural value; areas particularly suited for park and recreation purposes, including access to lakeshores, beaches, and rivers and streams; and areas which serve as links between major recreation and open-space reservations, including utility easements, banks of rivers and streams, trails, and scenic highway corridors.
(4) Open space for public health and safety, including, but not limited to, areas which require special management or regulation because of hazardous or special conditions such as earthquake fault zones, unstable soil areas, flood plains, water sheds, areas presenting high fire risks, areas required for the protection of water quality and water reservoirs and areas required for the protection and enhancement of air quality.
See the Voter Information Pamphlet for the Exhibits C and D.