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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Proposition O
General Plan Voter Approval Requirement
City of San Marcos

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 9890 / 37.35% Yes votes ...... 16589 / 62.65% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Jan 24 10:40am
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall an ordinance be adopted amending the San Marcos General Plan to require voter approval of certain general plan amendments modifying or changing land use categories or designations?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
If adopted, this measure would add one new Objective and five new Policies to the City's General Plan. These additions would provide that General Plan amendments that seek to modify land use categories in any fashion or to change any land use designation to any other designation must be approved by a majority vote in a City-wide election.

The measure would affect all land use categories and designations, including, but not limited to, commercial, industrial, open space and residential, and all discretionary or ministerial development permits or entitlements. The measure wouId be applicable to any change in land use designation or category whether or not such change would increase the intensity of use or density, with limited exceptions.

The limited exceptions to the voter approval requirement are: (1) changes to land designated as residential that reduce the intensity or density of such residential land use; (2) density bonuses and other state-mandated affordable housing programs or laws; (3) development projects that have received discretionary approval on or before July 23, 2007; and (4) property for which a vested right has been "legally perfected and acquired" prior to the effective date of the measure.

The measure states that projects that have received discretionary approval on or before July 23, 2007 are not affected. If approved, the measure may have some retroactive effect on projects currently being processed. However, the retroactivity provision is in the Implementation section rather than the actual amendments to the General Plan; therefore, the legal impact is not clear. If there is a question as to whether the measure is applicable to any given project and litigation ensues, the City will be required to defend the measure. The City's San Marcos Creek Specific Plan would be adversely affected by the measure, as the General Plan Amendment and related approvals were aII adopted after the July 23, 2007 date and would be deemed repealed by the measure.

The General Plan Amendment for the Palomar Station project was adopted prior to the July 23, 2007 date set forth in the retroactivity provision. Accordingly, that project will not be affected by the measure.

The measure provides that to the extent permitted by law it is applicable to property outside the City limits and within its sphere of influence for proposed re-designations that increase density or intensity of use. Requiring an election in connection with an annexation process may be inconsistent with the state's Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, which governs annexations of territory into the City. If that is the case, that portion of the measure would not be effective.

Approvals that trigger the voter approval requirement would be (i) placed on the ballot for the next general election at the City's cost; or (ii) voted on at a special election with costs being deposited in advance by the applicant. If approved, the measure is to be submitted to the voters for extension or repeal on the last general election before December 31, 2030.

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Arguments For Proposition O Arguments Against Proposition O
PROPOSITION O, the San Marcos Growth Management and Neighborhood Protection Act will do just that, protect our neighborhoods and help maintain our quality of life.

San Marcos already has a plan for growth through our General Plan. Prop. O would not stop growth, be it residential, commercial, or industrial that meets the existing standards under this General Plan.

There have been many changes to the General Plan in the last few years that have been approved over the objections of surrounding property owners. Proposition O would ensure that the voices of all citizens would be heard when such density increasing changes are proposed.

Prop. O will restore a balance of power between wealthy and politically powerful real estate speculators and land developers, and the ordinary citizens of San Marcos. Rather than merely a three person City Council majority, who could be influenced by special interest groups, Prop. O will allow YOU the RESIDENTS to VOTE on the amount of growth and development in your residential area in San Marcos over and above what General Plan now allows.

Uncontrolled growth will cause further traffic problems, and the corresponding increase in air pollution. Our public schools are already overcrowded. Who will pay and where will we build schools to put thousands more students? Property taxes will NOT provide enough money for this, bond issues would be required for this construction. With uncontrolled growth comes an increased crime rate.

Uncontrolled growth will mean increased costs for public services: police, fire, library, sewer, roads, water, etc. Development fees never cover these costs, nor will the existing tax structure.

With the passage of Prop. O, citizens can decide if a density-increasing project is worthy, and one that will maintain or improve San Marcos' quality of life.

San Marcos Chamber of Citizens
San Marcos Business & Industrial Association LLC

Rebuttal to Arguments For

The deceptively-named "San Marcos Growth Management and Neighborhood Protection Act" would do just the opposite of what its title claims.

Prop O would promote poorly-planned growth and compromise the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

If Prop O is approved, our City's tough planning and environmental review process could be sidestepped by big developers. Instead, they could use slick, expensive political campaigns to get their projects approved.


The people who signed the argument in favor of Prop O are the same ones who wrote Prop O. They wanted to block a project in their neighborhood, but couldn't get enough signatures on their petition and missed the deadline. They wrote Prop O without public hearings, without an environmental impact report, and without other safeguards that normally protect the public interest. If Prop O is approved, all we're left with are the negative impacts it will have on our City.


The City Council commissioned an independent study to determine the impacts of Prop O, and the results are frightening. Half a billion dollars in lost jobs and tax revenues; plans to relieve traffic congestion short-circuited; well-planned and badly needed improvement projects threatened, and a return to poorly-planned, piecemeal growth.

That's why a remarkable coalition has come together to defeat Prop O + from Mayor Desmond and the City Council to Sheriff's deputies and firefighters, and from the Chamber of Commerce to the San Marcos Mobilehome Residents Association.

Former Mayor of San Marcos

ROD JONES, Chairman of the Board
San Marcos Chamber of Commerce

Deputy Sheriff's Association of San Diego County

KENNETH P. DUBS, SR., President
San Marcos Economic Development Corporation

Community Volunteer
"O" - NO!

WRITTEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Prop O was written without public hearings or environmental review. Its poorly-written provisions could result in years of costly lawsuits and cost taxpayers millions. Even minor changes would require expensive citywide elections.

IT WILL MAKE TRAFFIC CONGESTION WORSE The city requires developers to pay for traffic improvements. Prop O undercuts this carefully designed plan, threatening funding for badly-needed improvements. That's one of the reasons why the Mayor and City Council unanimously oppose Prop O.

IT WILL LEAD TO POORLY-PLANNED DEVELOPMENT Many of our city's best-planned projects would have been blocked by Prop O. Instead, we'll get the haphazard, piecemeal growth that has damaged Escondido, where a similar measure was adopted several years ago. That's why San Marcos Planning Commissioners oppose Prop O.

COULD COST OUR CITY HALF A BILLION DOLLARS An independent economic report estimates as much as half a billion in lost tax revenues, businesses and jobs if Prop O is approved + impacting public safety and other city services. That's why the Chamber of Commerce, San Marcos Firefighters, San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs and San Diego County Taxpayers Association all oppose Prop O.

UNDERMINES REDEVELOPMENT That same independent report confirmed Prop O could undermine the city's successful redevelopment efforts that provide funds to aid mobile home residents, local schools, parks and traffic improvements. That's why school parents, San Marcos Community Services Commission and the San Marcos Mobilehome Residents Association oppose Prop O.

THREATENS OUR CITY'S FUTURE The award-winning downtown Creekside project and other long-awaited projects offering quality retail, entertainment and other resident-serving amenities are threatened by Prop O. It also threatens the University District, impeding the ability of CSUSM to attract faculty and students. That's why supporters of the Creekside project and leaders at CSUSM oppose Prop. O.

Mayor, City of San Marcos

San Marcos Mobilehome Residents Association

San Marcos Firefighters' Association

California State University San Marcos

Chair, San Diego County Taxpayers Association

Rebuttal to Arguments Against


Voter Power is a

WHO OPPOSES PROP "0"? Last summer high-level City Officials began holding closed-door meetings to plan their attack against this voter initiative. California law forbids "city resources" being used against citizens' initiatives so they secretly solicited favors and financial pledges from wealthy developers. Their biggest developer-contributor recently received a $13.4 million sweetheart loan deal from the City Council. Concealing their activities through a sham "citizens committee", they hired a high-profile political consultant and commissioned costly professional opinion surveys circumventing filing mandated State campaign finance reports.


ENCOURAGE BETTER QUALITY DEVELOPMENT These politician opponents plan to "urbanize" San Marcos approving high-rise, high-density development that violates our city's successful General Plan. Congested projects that undermine our neighborhoods and overwhelm our infrastructure pay big tax revenues and developer profits. When projects must satisfy the public, we'll get better quality development.

PREVENT AND REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION Projects currently in planning stages will add hundreds of thousands of cars daily to our log- jammed streets and roads not designed to accommodate that much traffic. Prop "O" gives YOU control over traffic congestion. You decide when enough is enough.

KEEP PUBLIC SERVICE LEVELS HIGH High-density development yields higher tax revenue BUT simultaneously adds even higher services costs billed to taxpayers.

PROTECTS OUR CITY'S FUTURE If a project is worthwhile, residents will happily approve and welcome it. Prop "O" doesn't stop growth. YES on PROP "O" gives YOU failsafe control over San Marcos' future.

San Marcos Chamber of Citizens
San Marcos Business & Industrial Association LLC

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:40 PST
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