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.