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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure K
Open Space/Land Use
Town of Moraga

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 3964 / 44.04% Yes votes ...... 5037 / 55.96% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 8:18pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (14/14)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the ordinance Expanding Open Space and Imposing Development Restrictions be adopted?

Impartial Analysis from the Town Attorney
The Moraga Initiative Expanding Open Space and Imposing Development Restrictions ("Ordinance") would amend Moraga's General Plan to: 1) create a new category of open space ("MOSO 2008 OS") that imposes additional development restrictions in the MOSO 2008 OS area; 2) re-designate "Study Area" land owned by St. Mary's College as "Community Facilities"; and 3) expand the open space area covered by the Moraga Open Space Ordinance adopted by the voters in 1986 ("MOSO 1986") by re-designating all other "Study Area" land not owned by St. Mary's College and not within the Bollinger Canyon Area as MOSO 1986 Open Space.

The land areas covered by MOSO 2008 OS are: Bollinger Canyon, Campolindo Ridge, Indian Valley, Muholland Ridge, Rheem Ridge and the Sanders and Larch Ridges Areas. Areas within MOSO 2008 OS would have density limited to a maximum of one dwelling unit per twenty acres, which could increase to ten acres under limited circumstances. Minimum parcel sizes could be reduced to 15,000 square feet for the purpose of clustering development, except for the Bollinger Canyon Area, where the minimum new parcel size would be five acres.

Only the following uses, along with their normal and appropriate accessory uses and non-residential structures, would be permitted in MOSO 2008 OS: One single-family residence per legal parcel, secondary units, employee dwelling units, room rental, agriculture, animal care and boarding, some institutional or non-profit uses, and government/public facilities. Limited commercial uses would also be allowed. The maximum aggregate floor area of all floors in all buildings on a parcel may not exceed 1% of the parcel's area, or 20,000 square feet, whichever is less, but for any parcel a minimum of up to 10,000 square feet may be permitted.

The Ordinance identifies major and minor ridgelines, steep slopes, wetlands, riparian corridors, and critical wildlife habitat areas within MOSO 2008 OS as "Areas of Special Environmental Concern" in which development is generally prohibited with some limited exceptions. Development is also prohibited on some minor ridgelines immediately adjacent to and extending into MOSO 2008 OS. "Development" is defined as the construction, erection or placement of any structure, underground utilities and any surface alteration, but does not include work necessary to eliminate a menace to life, limb or property, establish a fire or public trail, create water wells or any surface alteration that results in the movement of less than 50 cubic yards of material and encompasses less than 10,000 square feet of area per parcel. An exception to this development prohibition exists for pre-existing legal parcels if the foregoing restrictions permit no building site on the parcel, and there is no option for density transfer. In those instances, a development envelope not to exceed one acre may be permitted, so long as it is not within 500 feet of a major ridgeline and is located to minimize its visual and environmental impacts.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure K. If you desire a copy of the full text of the measure, please call the Town of Moraga at (925) 888-7021 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. You may also access the full text of the measure at the following website address:

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Arguments For Measure K Arguments Against Measure K
Vote YES on Measure K to preserve Moraga's scenic views.

Vote YES on Measure K to protect Moraga's open space ridgelines and hillsides from overdevelopment.

Vote YES on Measure K to prevent our streets from being jammed with over 3,000 additional car trips per day.

Vote YES on Measure K to keep the small town feel and exceptional quality of life in Moraga.

The Moraga Open Space Ordinance initiative of 1986 did a good job of slowing growth and protecting four major ridgelines from development. Now, however, large new subdivisions are proposed in important open space areas not protected by MOSO 1986.

Over 1,000 new housing units have already been approved or are being planned in Moraga: Palos Colorados, Vista Encinos, Moraga Center Specific Plan, and many more. In the face of this development pressure, we need to protect our remaining open space.

Measure K:

Preserves Moraga's panoramic views by preventing building on ridgelines and steep hillsides in prominent open space areas;

Protects Bollinger Canyon, Indian Valley, and Rheem Ridge from sprawling new subdivisions;

Keeps our local roads free from thousands of additional car trips perday;

Saves taxpayers the long-term expense of providing additional police, fire, emergency medical, and infrastructure maintenance services to accommodate large developments in these open space areas;

Allows use of open space for agriculture, cattle ranching, low-density residences, and outdoor recreation.

Measure K is endorsed by our local Audubon Society, Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, Regional Parks Association, and many respected community leaders and business owners. It is the only ballot initiative supported by the original organizers of MOSO 1986.

Our Town is growing significantly. Without further protection, excessive growth will destroy the beautiful open space and scenic views we cherish.

Please Vote YES on Measure K to protect the qualities that make Moraga a great place to live.

Bill Vaughn, Former Mayor
   Town of Moraga
Renata Sos
   Former Moraga Planning Commissioner
Karen Chin, Past President
   Rheem School PTA
Richard Immel, Principal Proponent
   1986 Moraga Open Space Ordinance (MOSO 1986)
Dave Parker, Moraga Vineyard and Winery Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments For
We believe Measure K is wrong for Moraga's future. Please consider the following:

  • Measure K supporters want you to believe that our beautiful open space and ridgelines are being threatened. Our scenic views and major ridgelines are already protected by the 1986 Moraga Open Space Ordinance (MOSO). These regulations have been time-tested, withstood legal challenge and they work.

  • Measure K is the vision of Green Party Mayor Lynda Deschambault and three Berkeley environmental organizations, who have their own agenda for the future of Moraga. They cloak their rhetoric in the environment, but that is only half of the story.

  • What Mayor Deschambault and the Berkeley groups really want is to severely restrict single-family housing, forcing the building of 400 - 700 high density, lower-income condominiums and apartments in Moraga's downtown. THIS IDEA MIGHT WORK FOR BERKELEY, BUT WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR MORAGA.

If Measure K passes, we fear the worst for Moraga's future:

  • Multimillion Dollar Lawsuits + Measure K will cost millions of taxpayers' dollars to defend in court - not taking into account its potential to bankrupt Moraga.

  • Lower-Income Condos, Not Single-Family Homes - Measure K would drastically change Moraga's unique family-oriented character forever.

  • Less Money for Police, School & Fire Protection - The Town of Moraga anticipates a reduction in future annual revenues of $410,700 if Measure K passes - that does not include reductions in school and fire protection services.

We love Moraga. Please help us protect Moraga's future by voting NO on Measure K.

Joe Cushing, M.O.L. Football Commissioner
   Coach, Moraga Baseball Association
Julie Carlson, Former Board Member, Moraga Junior Women's Club
   Active School Volunteer
Dr. Ron Mayes, Earthquake Safety Specialist
   Fulbright Scholar
Merle Gilliland, Former Moraga Mayor, Town Council member
   Former USA Rugby Coach
Mark DeWeese, Moraga-Orinda Firefighter
   Campolindo JV Football Coach

Measure K backers want you to believe that the battle in Moraga is about "growth vs. no growth", "developers vs. environmentalists" and that their initiative is about preserving "threatened" open space in our Town.

In truth ... Moraga's open space and major ridgelines are not being threatened, as we have one of the strongest open space and ridgeline protection ordinances in Contra Costa County (MOSO).

So what is this really about? It's about who controls Moraga and its vision for the future.

We are longtime Moraga residents/leaders. We oppose Measure K because we believe it will dramatically change the single-family character of Moraga. We ask you to think about the following before you vote:

Who is behind Measure K? Green Party Mayor Lynda Deschambault and a number of extreme environmentalists who do not live in Moraga. They have their own agenda for the future of Moraga.

What do Measure K backers really want? Mayor Lynda Deschambault and Measure K supporters say they want to restrict development in Moraga. What they really mean is they want to restrict up to 300 single-family executive homes paving the way to build 400 + 700 lower-income condominiums and apartments in the downtown area.

Exchanging executive housing for lower-income condominiums will deny millions of dollars in annual revenues for police, school and fire protection services.

We do not share their vision for our Town's future.

If Measure K passes, there is great concern for Moraga's future fiscal stability. Measure K will in essence "condemn" hundreds of acres of private property for open space, likely resulting in multimillion dollar lawsuits, costing taxpayers millions + potentially bankrupting our Town.

Not only don't we share the same vision for Moraga's future as the Mayor, Measure K is just too risky. Please join us in voting NO on K. Thank you.

Ronald H. Julian, Risk Management Consultant,
   Member, Moraga Taxpayers Association
Mary K. Drennan, Former Campolindo Health Education Chair,
   St. Monica Church Women's Guild President
Tim McCaffery, Saint Mary's College Regent,
Merle Gilliland, Former Moraga Mayor,
   Town Councilmember
Mark Stephens, M.O.L. Board Member & Coach,
   Former Associate Athletic Director at CAL

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The arguments against Measure K are developer scare tactics.

Look who's behind these false and misleading claims...

According to official records (6/30/08), the sole funder of this campaign against Measure K is Russell J. Bruzzone, Inc., the developer who wants to build hundreds of houses in Moraga's open space and who owns the site for the controversial downtown development.

In contrast, Yes on Measure K is funded by over a hundred Moraga neighbors, signed by 2,000 Moraga residents, and endorsed by Republicans and Democrats, community leaders, business owners, elected officials, and the local Audubon Society and Sierra Club.

Here's what Measure K actually does:

Spares us traffic congestion from 3,000 more daily car trips, according to the Town's official analysis;

Protects scenic hillsides and ridgelines not protected by MOSO 1986;
Reduces housing density in Moraga;

Safeguards Moraga's small-town character and quality of life.

Contrary to Bruzzone, Inc.'s claims, Measure K:

Does not exchange single-family housing for apartments/condos;
Does not condemn a single square foot of Moraga property;
Does not authorize high-density housing, downtown or anywhere else.

The Town Attorney concluded that Measure K "is a proper exercise of the initiative power." (Report 9212)

Measure K is sponsored by Friends of Moraga Open Space, a volunteer citizens' group whose mission is to preserve Moraga's scenic hills and small-town character.

So who do you trust to protect open space?

Hundreds of concerned neighbors, or one developer who stands to gain from maximizing development downtown and in Moraga's open space?

Please vote Yes on Measure K.

Bob Merritt, Moraga Citizen of the Year, 1982
   Former Governing Board Member, Moraga School District
Dr. Leland Nelson, Former Chair, Moraga PlanningCommission
   51-year Resident Moraga
Bob Bratton, Retired Moraga-Orinda Fire DistrictFirefighter-Paramedic
   29-year Moraga Resident
Serina Johnson Culleton, Rheem Elementary SchoolTeacher
   Moraga Resident
Richard Immel, Principal Proponent,
   1986 Moraga Open Space Ordinance (MOSO 1986)

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