A draft report to county supervisors Monday said that the pending slow-growth initiative should not jeopardize the county's controversial plans for a major developer-funded road program but that the final decision will probably be made by a judge.
With the draft, it appeared that a majority of the supervisors will be ready Wednesday to approve three so-called developer agreements that would protect certain projects from future zone changes in return for their paying for new roads.
"The indication is that there is no legal reason not to proceed," said Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, whose district includes the three developments. "The stability of the (road) program appears to be intact."
The supervisors and county officials stressed that the report is a first draft and that more information from a special bond counsel is still expected. But they said they did not expect the new information to change the report's conclusions.
Most of the 18-page draft describes the need for the Foothill Circulation Phasing Plan, a five-year program to build about $250 million in new roads for south Orange County, using money from developers.
Vasquez ordered the report about two weeks ago because of concerns that the initiative could make it difficult for developers to obtain financing for their contributions to the foothill road program.
The report said it "appears" that the foothill road program can still be implemented but qualified that statement by saying that the initiative may be "legally flawed" and that "it is likely . . . (the outcome) will be determined by judicial interpretation."
The report also said that the three development agreements are largely compatible with the slow-growth initiative, partly because the roads to be built would reduce traffic below the minimum standards required by the measure.
Tom Rogers, an initiative leader, said he would not oppose the highway agreements if they were indeed compatible with the initiative. He said, however, that he needed to study the road agreements before he decides how he will testify before the board on Wednesday.
In addition to traffic loads, the initiative requires specific standards for emergency services that are not detailed in the highway agreements. And while the agreements prescribe traffic standards for roads, they do not specifically mention highways.
"We'd like to have it more specific, frankly," Rogers said Monday. "But if you're just talking about the traffic aspect . . . I see no reason to oppose (the highway agreements)."