Measure M (Land Use Designation and Zoning)

Q.  Shall the ordinance be adopted amending the County of El Dorado General Plan to provide (1) County shall not approve single-family housing subdivisions of five or more parcels if CalTrans determines that Highway 50 traffic has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service F (2) lands designated open-space, agricultural, or natural resources shall remain in those categories and (3) lands designated as low-density residential, medium-density residential, or rural residential shall not be rezoned to higher densities?

Impartial Analysis from El Dorado County Counsel

This measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters. If adopted by a majority vote, this measure would add two new policies to the El Dorado County General Plan. The policies would remain in effect for twenty years, during which they could only be amended by a vote of the people.

Policy TC-Xc would preclude the County from approving single-family detached housing subdivisions of five or more parcels if the California Department of Transportation ("CalTrans") determines that traffic on Highway 50 west of the City of Placerville has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service ("LOS") F as defined in the measure. Until cumulative Highway 50 traffic levels are improved and stay below LOS F, the County would continue to be precluded from approving such subdivisions.

The policy raises interpretation questions. Among them are that the measure requires consideration of traffic levels of service "on any Highway 50 road segment west of the City of Placerville." Though this appears to require consideration of traffic on both in and out-of-county road segments west of the City of Placerville, it could also be interpreted to require consideration of only local traffic, i.e., those segments of Highway 50 within El Dorado County.

Also, though the measure requires consideration of "forecast" traffic levels (i.e., projected future traffic) on Highway 50, it does not define the timeframe associated with that forecast. Also, it is unclear how this policy interacts with existing General Plan Policy TC-Xa, which authorizes the County to allow certain roads to operate at LOS F if approved by vote of the people or a 4/5 vote of the Board of Supervisors.

<Policy 2.2.1.3.1 would require that land designated in the current General Plan as open space, agricultural lands, or natural resources as of the effective date of the measure remain in those categories. The new policy would also preclude the County from rezoning low density residential, medium density residential, or rural residential parcels to a higher allowed density. Land use designation and zoning changes necessary for "non-residential (economic development) projects" or agricultural purposes may be allowed so long as the proposed use is compatible with surrounding land uses.

Currently, the Board of Supervisors has the authority to change a parcel's land use designation or zoning classification. The measure would limit that authority for the specified land use categories. Though the measure creates an exception for projects that are "non-residential (economic development) projects" or for agricultural purposes, it is unclear whether that exception applies to all non-residential projects or only those that also create economic development. It is also unclear what constitutes "economic development."

The measure is not applicable within the planning jurisdictions of the City of South Lake Tahoe, the City of Placerville, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of adding the proposed policies to the El Dorado County General Plan.

A "no" vote is a vote against adding the proposed policies to the El Dorado County General Plan.

Arguments For Measure M

Arguments Against Measure M

           

Measure M will keep us rural.

El Dorado County currently has 54,000 homes. According to CalTrans, Highway 50 commute traffic in the west county has reached gridlock, stop-and-go levels (LOS F) which is prohibited by General Plan traffic policies. Nevertheless, Supervisors are planning 33,000 more homes that will worsen traffic by 50%.

Measure M (read below) stops the County's scheme to allow 33,000 more homes by manipulating Highway 50 traffic data and forecasting fictitious traffic improvements. To end this scheme, Measure M requires unbiased CalTrans traffic measurements be used to determine Highway 50 traffic levels.

Policy 1 reads: "If CalTrans determines that traffic on any Highway 50 road segment west of the City of Placerville has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service F (LOS F = stop-and-go, gridlock) during weekday, peakhour commute periods, then the County shall not approve single-family detached housing subdivisions of 5 or more parcels until cumulative Highway 50 traffic levels are improved and stay below LOS F."

Measure M also protects open space, agricultural and forestlands; limits rezoning residential lands in rural areas, and stops Marble Valley near Cameron Park (4,000 homes), San Stino in Shingle Springs (1,000); Dixon Ranch (600) and the Executive Golf Course rezone (1,000) in El Dorado Hills.

Policy 2 reads: "Lands designated in the General Plan as:

  1. open space, agricultural lands or natural resource shall remain in these categories, and (2) low density housing, medium density housing, or rural residential housing shall not be rezoned to higher densities. Land use designation and zoning changes may be allowed in categories (1, 2) for non-residential (economic development) projects or agricultural purposes if compatible with surrounding land uses."

In summary, Measure M restricts approving large housing subdivisions in rural areas if Highway 50 reaches gridlock traffic levels, and does not interfere with (non-residential) job projects.

Yes on Measure M.

Measure M supporters claim it will "keep us rural" by stopping excessive home building. But, safeguards in Measure Y and El Dorado County General Plan already prevent this from happening.

DON'T BE FOOLED BY HYSTERICAL CLAIMS.

The aim of Measure M is to upset the carefully crafted balance created by the General Plan and Measure Y -- a balance that insures necessary economic growth, but still protects our rural quality of life.

EL DORADO COUNTY HAS A BALANCED PLAN THAT CREATES JOBS, RESPECTS PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND PROTECTS OUR QUALITY OF LIFE -- MEASURE M TIPS THAT BALANCE.

That's why agriculture, public safety, education, local business, labor, and other community leaders have united against Measure M.

MEASURE M TAKES AWAY LOCAL CONTROL OF LAND USE DECISIONS. We believe El Dorado County should make these decisions, not state bureaucrats.

MEASURE M WILL RESULT IN MORE TRAFFIC AND LESS OPEN SPACE. Measure M supporters say it will stop too many homes from being built in the rural areas -- but that is exactly where all the growth will occur because Measure M will prevent development near Highway 50. As a result, we'll see an increase in sprawl, traffic, air pollution, and the loss of open space and agricultural lands.

MEASURE M WILL RESTRICT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND COST MILLIONS IN TAX REVENUE NEEDED FOR VITAL SERVICES. AND IT WILL COST EL DORADO COUNTY HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS.

Vote No on Measure M -- we need a proper balance.

Kathleen McCoy, President, League of Women Voters, EDC John LePouvoir, Chairman, Sierra Club, Maidu Group Bill Center, Measure Y Committee & Initiative Proponent Ellen Van Dyke, Rural Communities United & Initiative Proponent Howard Penn, President, American River Recreation Assoc & Initiative Proponent

Susan Bergin, Laborers Local 185 Laurel Brent-Bumb, CEO, El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce David Zelinsky, Community Activist Christa Campbell, Owner Rainbow Orchards John Upton, Former County Supervisor

Rebuttal to Arguments For

Rebuttal to Arguments Against

MEASURE M TAKES AWAY LOCAL CONTROL OF LAND USE DECISIONS. Instead of El Dorado County elected officials and voters making key decisions about local land use, Measure M gives state transportation bureaucrats the authority to dictate development in our county. The measure would cripple El Dorado County's ability to strike the right balance between necessary economic growth and protecting our rural open space.

MEASURE M WILL RESULT IN MORE TRAFFIC AND LESS OPEN SPACE. It overturns the voter-approved General Plan, Measure Y and other measures that currently control growth, protect open space, and preserve our rural quality of life. By eliminating these safeguards, we'll see an increase in sprawl, traffic, air pollution, and the loss of open space and agricultural lands.

MEASURE M WILL COST EL DORADO COUNTY HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS. It will jeopardize the existing county requirement that developers pay for infrastructure and road improvements. Since 1998, $500 million in developer fees have been collected. Under Measure M these fees will be reduced.

MEASURE M IS OPPOSED BY COMMUNITY LEADERS. Local business, labor, agriculture, public safety, education and other community leaders have united against Measure M. They believe Measure M threatens our right to control development. Local transportation experts oppose Measure M, warning it will result in more homes being built farther from Sacramento and Highway 50 -- increasing traffic congestion on rural roads leading to Highway 50.

MEASURE M STRIPS EL DORADO COUNTY OF LOCAL CONTROL AND IT ELIMINATES VOTER-APPROVED SAFEGUARDS CONTROLLING GROWTH, LIMITING TRAFFIC, AND PROTECTING OPEN SPACE. MEASURE M REDUCES PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS, HURTS OUR ECONOMY AND WILL COST EL DORADO COUNTY HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TAX DOLLARS.

Vote No on Measure M -- we can't afford it.

YES on Measure M. Keep Us Rural.

Developers are making false arguments. Measure M will NOT cause more traffic and less open space, nor will Measure M take away local control, or cost millions of dollars.

Measure M is needed to protect our rural lifestyle.

Supervisors are planning to amend the General Plan to approve 33,000 more homes that will worsen traffic by 50%. There is no water or road capacity for this much housing development. Measure M places limits on approving new housing subdivisions in rural areas if Highway 50 traffic levels will reach LOS F (gridlock).

Read Measure M's two policies below:

Measure M, Policy 1 reads: "If CalTrans determines that traffic on any Highway 50 road segment west of the City of Placerville has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service F (LOS F = stop-and-go, gridlock) during weekday, peak-hour commute periods, then the County shall not approve single-family detached housing subdivisions of 5 or more parcels until cumulative Highway 50 traffic levels are improved and stay below LOS F."

Measure M, Policy 2 reads: "Lands designated in the General Plan as: (1) open space, agricultural lands or natural resource shall remain in these categories, and (2) low density housing, medium density housing, or rural residential housing shall not be rezoned to higher densities. Land use designation and zoning changes may be allowed in categories (1, 2) for non-residential (economic development) projects or agricultural purposes if compatible with surrounding land uses."

YES on Measure M.

Susan Bergin, Laborers Local 185 Debbie Manning, El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce David Zelinsky, Community Activist Mike Kobus, Small Business Owner Duane Wallace, South Lake Tahoe Small Businessman

Kathleen McCoy, President, League of Women Voters, EDC John Le Pouvoir, Chairman, Sierra Club, Maidu Group Bill Center, Measure Y Committee & Measure M Proponent Howard Penn, Measure M Proponent & President, American River Recreation Association Ellen Van Dyke, Rural Communities United & Measure M Proponent