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Not for 'No Growth'

July 21, 1985

I am disturbed by the inaccuracy and obvious bias shown in your June 13 article on the San Diego Managed Growth Initiative ("S.D. No-Growth Initiative Closer to a Spot on Ballot").

Both the article and the headline presented it as a "no-growth" initiative, which is an untrue allegation and accepts as fact the distorted interpretation and fears of the initiative's opponents. Pertinent background clarifying the intent of and motivation for this initiative was notably lacking in your write up.

The Growth Management Plan for San Diego was developed over a period of five years with extensive citizen input through planning board meetings, along with a sizable expenditure on consulting fees. This plan divided the open space into two categories: the planned urbanization , which is OK'd for development now, and the future urbanization , which is held in reserve for the future.

A conservative estimate of the parcels in the first category shows that there is enough well-situated land already cleared for industrial development to provide San Diego with homes, commercial and industrial development through the year 2000. The Managed Growth Initiative will not halt development in San Diego; it specifically addresses the untimely development of land in the future urbanization category when such is unnecessary at this time and presents problems to the city as a whole.

The purpose of keeping some of the land "in reserve" for the future is not to stifle growth, it is to manage it in an orderly way to preserve the quality of life in our city.

There are serious questions of resource management that must be addressed when opening a new area for building: Is there an adequate water supply for the proposed population? Is there adequate sewage treatment capacity? If not, when (and with whose money) will it be built? Where are the police and fire protection going to come from? Who pays to build new schools? How will the increased traffic flow be accommodated without overwhelming existing communities?

The Growth Management Plan adopted six years ago provides a means of addressing these problem in a cost-effective way by planned development, and it is this plan that the Managed Growth Initiative seeks to preserve. Your article failed to point out that although the City Council was given the power to make exceptions to the plan in cases where an "overwhelming social and economic benefit" would accrue to the city, they have in fact granted every single developer request made since the plan was adopted. The initiative would not have been necessary if the council had exercised good judgment in its management of our most precious resource--space.


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