(Measure N) Control Growth to Fix Local Roads
AN INITIATIVE MEASURE TO AMEND THE EL DORADO COUNTY GENERAL PLAN REGARDING TRAFFIC AND LAND USE POLICIES
The El Dorado County General Plan provides for long range direction and policy for the use of land within El Dorado County. It is made up of various "elements," including the Transportation and Circulation Element, which addresses the transportation system, and the Land Use Element, which addresses the intensity, location, and distribution of land uses.
Current General Plan Policy TC-Xa states, in part, that "Traffic from single-family residential subdivision development projects of five or more parcels of land shall not result in, or worsen, Level of Service F (gridlock, stop-and-go) traffic congestion during weekday, peak-hour periods on any highway, road, interchange or intersection in the unincorporated areas of the county." That policy is to remain in effect until December 31, 2018. The initiative would extend the policy so that it remains in effect until December 31, 2025.
Current General Plan Policy TC-Xb requires the County to prepare an annual Capital Improvement Program ("CIP") specifying planned expenditures for roadway improvements. The initiative would amend Policy TC-Xb to require that, in specifying expenditures in the CIP, the County emphasize providing improvements to local roadways serving existing communities which are experiencing traffic congestion and areas designated as Community Regions in the General Plan. The initiative would also amend Policy TC-Xb to require the County to provide an annual report detailing the traffic volume of major roads and highways and how traffic impact mitigation fees have been allocated.
Current General Plan Policy TC-Xi makes the planning for the widening of U.S. Highway 50 a priority for the County. The initiative would amend Policy TC-Xi to require that the County, whenever possible, rely first on the use of State and/or federal funding for U.S. Highway 50 capacity-enhancing projects. The initiative would further amend Policy TC-Xi to state that, notwithstanding the foregoing, traffic impact fee revenue may be used for Caltrans facilities as matching funds, for any purpose consistent with or required by Policy TC-Xa, or when no other means of financing is available.
The General Plan establishes "Community Regions" within the County "to define those areas which are appropriate for the highest intensity of self-sustaining compact urban-type development or suburban type development within the County based on the municipal spheres of influence, availability of infrastructure, public services, major transportation corridors and travel patterns, the location of major topographic patterns and features, and the ability to provide and maintain appropriate transitions at Community Region boundaries." The initiative would amend Policy 22.214.171.124 to require the County to encourage planning and zoning within Community Regions where existing infrastructure is nearby.
The initiative states that, if one or more conflicting initiatives are approved by a majority of voters at the same election and if this initiative receives more affirmative votes than a conflicting initiative, this initiative shall control in its entirety and said conflicting initiative(s) shall be rendered void. The initiative further states that if the initiative is approved but does not receive more affirmative votes than said conflicting initiative(s), this initiative shall have no force and effect.
Argument In Favor
Measure is designed to keep us rural.
Measure N will relieve local traffic congestion and limit growth in El Dorado County by:
(1) Forcing the state to pay its fair share for Highway 50 improvements.
(2) Prioritizing traffic mitigation fees and county transportation dollars to fix local roads.
(3) Requiring an annual report to taxpayers sharing what is being done to improve local roads.
In 1998. County voters approved Measure Y and in 2008, voters extended Measure Y for another ten years. On average, Measure Y has limited growth in El Dorado County to just one percent a year since 1999, and dedicated over $200 million to local transportation improvements.
This Initiative extends Measure Y through 2025.
It retains Measure Y's requirement that new development fully pay for the cost of improvements to local roads which are needed to ease traffic.
It also improves Measure 'I in three simple, but important, ways:
1. Encourages the county to utilize state and federal dollars to fund Highway 50 improvements whenever possible, and prioritizes county transportation dollars to improving local roads. This should alleviate local traffic congestion and better maintain local roads.
2. Keeps El Dorado County rural by limiting growth within existing Community Regions approved by voters in the county's general plan. This encourages responsible planning and zoning within Community Regions where infrastructure including roads and water is nearby.
3. Makes the County more accountable to taxpayers by requiring annual reports on what efforts are being made to alleviate traffic congestion and better maintain local roads.
El Dorado County is a great place to live, and Measure builds on the past success of voter approved Measure Y to limit growth, ease traffic congestion, improve local roads, and protect our rural way of life.
Vote NO on Measure N.
Measure N was placed on the ballot by a Sacramento-based developers group. The developers measure is very self-serving and deceptively written.
First, developers included language that permanently enacts controversial General Plan policies to approve 27,000 new homes, including 2,000 in the Placerville-Camino-Pollock Pines areas; 8,000 in El Dorado Hills; 6,500 in Cameron Park-Shingle Springs; 5,500 in El Dorado-Diamond Springs and 5,000 homes spread out in rural areas.
Then developers also included deceptively simple language that reads: ... "HIGHWAY 50 CAPACITY ENHANCING PROJECTS ... SHALL RELY FIRST ON THE USE OF STATE AND/OR FEDERAL FUNDING ... RATHER THAN COUNTY TIM (developer) FEES".
Every year, the state returns $9 million in gas tax revenues paid by El Dorado County residents when they pay gasoline and fuel taxes. This revenue is mostly used for local road repair and snow removal.
• The developer g wording means that up to $9 million a year of OUR state gas tax "funding" can now be used to pay for making Highway 50 traffic improvements for new development, rather than local road repair and snow removal as is currently budgeted.
• Further wording (see the phrasing above) says: RATHER THAN COUNTY TIM (developer) FEES". This means that County TIM (developer) fees can now only be used AFTER our state and/or federal gas tax revenues are used first. This language frees developers from fully paying for their Highway 50 improvements, as currently required in the General Plan.
In summary, Measure N was written by developers to approve as much development as possible while using OUR gas tax revenues to pay Highway 50 improvements they are currently required to pay for. Measure N is opposed by local residents who want to protect their wallets, water, and rural lifestyle.
Measure N could easily cost El Dorado County taxpayers $150 million. Vote No on Measure N.
Rebuttal To Argument In Favor
REBUTTAL ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE N
Measure N is unnecessary. Like Measure M, it claims it will improve El Dorado County transportation planning. Also like Measure M, it doesn't.
The current General Plan is working. Measure Y, approved by voters in 1998 and overwhelmingly approved in 2008, was the result of collaborative efforts among environmental, business, development, and slow-growth advocates. A balanced plan to insure we protect the local economy as well as our rural quality of life.
THE COMPROMISE PLAN IS WORKING — NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TRY SOMETHING UNTESTED.
MEASURE N WILL PARALYZE EL DORADO COUNTY FOR YEARS WITH COSTLY BATTLES OVER LAND USE. Measure N, like Measures M and 0, claims it will improve transportation and land use planning, but it will make traffic worse, endanger open space, reduce developer fees for road improvements and cost El Dorado County jobs and tax revenue.
MEASURE N IS FLAWED AND WILL COST EL DORADO COUNTY MILLIONS. Measures N, M and 0 are so poorly drafted it will take years to sort out the conflicts between them — paralyzing local planning and costing millions.
Local business, labor, agriculture, public safety, education, and other community leaders have united against Measures N, M and 0 because the proposals threaten local control, undercut the voter-approved Measure Y and General Plan, and will produce more traffic and less open space. And the measures threaten private property rights as well as damage the local economy — costing jobs and tax revenue for important local public services.
Vote No on Measure N — we need a proper balance.