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Growth in Carlsbad

October 26, 1986

The ballot battle surrounding Carlsbad Land-Use Propositions E and G is distinguished by the extreme simplicity of the basic issue. The true question for voter determination is whether the (building) growth rate shall continue at its present explosive level or shall be reduced to a moderate level.

The simplicity of this basic question is, unfortunately, being obscured. The development industry and their City Hall supporters have effectively muddied the issue in an effort to confuse the voters.

City Hall would have us believe that its Proposition E will place into effect the Growth Management Plan. City Hall hopes by this claim to appeal to concerned voters, who know that growth needs to be managed better. The fact is, however, that the Growth Management Plan is presently in effect as Carlsbad Ordinance 9808. It will remain in full effect regardless of the ballot outcome of either land-use proposition. Neither proposition contains provisions for repealing or amending the Growth Management Plan. Clearly the Growth Management Plan is not the issue.

City Hall would like us to believe that the citizens' initiative, Proposition G, would damage the city's finances. They base this assertion on the observation that reducing the number of houses built reduces the amount of developer facility fees collected. They know, but fail to mention, that the cost for required facilities is also reduced. Fairness and state court decisions establish that fees charged developers may not exceed the value of facilities required by the development. The present shortage of facilities shows the fees are inadequate. Passage of Proposition G, and the resulting lower building rate, cannot possibly harm the city's balance sheet because facility costs are reduced more than are developer fees. Slower growth will improve, not damage, the city's finances. Clearly, the city financial balance sheet is not the issue.

If neither the Growth Management Plan nor the city's finances is the issue, then what is the issue?

The issue is, purely and simply, rate of growth. Proposition G would slow the building rate substantially below that of the past few years. All existing zoning, planning and land-use ordinances, including the Growth Management Plan, are unaffected. Proposition G simply applies, as an overlay, a maximum growth rate.

The developers resist this strongly because they understandably want their profits as soon as possible. But more importantly, they sense the rising public opposition to explosive growth, its ugliness and alarming deterioration of quality of life. The developers want to build, sell and move on before public outrage stops them. They seek to confuse that public opposition and to prevent or delay the law.

Voters, if you love Carlsbad, if you want to preserve its beauty, if you want to protect your property values, vote yes on Proposition G to establish a gradual growth rate and no on Proposition E.

Remember, you can choose the growth rate: G for gradual, E for explosive.



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