The politics of commercial development are heating up in Cotati as residents prepare to vote on a ballot measure that would allow construction of large retail buildings.
On Nov. 4, Cotati voters will decide whether to approve an initiative that would exempt a 52-acre lot from a 1997 ban on large commercial structures.
A group called Cotati Residents Against B has sent out three glossy mailers that say the measure's approval would bring a "big-box regional super mall" and "massive new regional traffic" that would damage Cotati's economy and charm.
The group is preparing to file a lawsuit to invalidate the election because of what it claims is prejudicial ballot language.
Proponents of the measure -- including all five City Council members, the Cotati Chamber of Commerce and the Sonoma County Taxpayers Assn. -- say the city needs a steady source of sales-tax income to avoid budget crises.