Both Measures E and G contain "poison pills" that obstruct General Plan implementation, along with economic development, expansion of agriculture, housing and jobs. If adopted, Measures E and G would amend the General Plan to immediately prohibit "any form of discretionary approval for a project". Projects that require county approvals include a whole range of projects such as CSD parks and sports complexes, job centers, daycare centers, hospitals and care facilities, churches, private schools, dining facilities for wineries, along with agricultural, residential and commercial uses.

The plain meaning of both initiatives is that these projects are stopped by setting requirements that cannot be met.

The first paragraph of Measure G reads, “The 2004 General Plan is hereby amended or policies listed (in Measure G) shall be implemented prior to any future discretionary project being allowed, approved or adopted...” followed by a series of actions the county must complete before future discretionary approvals. Similar county actions have taken up to a decade in the past. In other words, if you want a day care center or private school you are stopped until the county approves contentious projects that will require years of public hearing and review – all out of your control.

Measure E’s requirements are also impossible to meet. It prohibits any discretionary approval until all roads needed to mitigate cumulative traffic from all new development are fully completed. "Cumulative" means more than direct traffic impacts caused by a project - it includes traffic from all other projects approved or anticipated during the next 20 years - a price tag of about $300 million. Rather than pay your fair share by a fee that has raised $240,000,000 to date for road fixes, Measure E requires you to build your share. How do you build your share of an interchange? You don’t. In fact, Measure E even prevents anyone - such as the CSD from building project road fixes because you can’t be approved without building the roads and the law says you can’t build the roads until you are approved. Again, impossible.

Thousands of voters have seen the videos of Bill Center saying the language would “stop virtually all development in El Dorado County” and Jim Moore telling the Board of Supervisors the language “exposes everybody” and is “far too broad”. Now, Measure E&G proponents want to create new definitions of “discretionary”. Not one, but two different definitions of the same word where neither is defined in the ballot language. Seriously?

Who do you trust? Do you really believe the Sacramento Bee, Mountain Democrat (calls these a mess), the Republican Central Committee, Farm Bureau, Winery Association, El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, Board of Realtors and Deputy Sheriffs Association, 4 of 5 CSD directors have all been "bought" along with a Board of Supervisors that has not approved a new rural subdivision in 30 years or a new major residential subdivision this century.

The General Plan that took 15 years and millions is working - 1% county growth is forecast over the next 20 years. 95% of the residential land in El Dorado Hills has been built or approved. The Golf Course is open space in the General Plan and the county is expected to keep it open space.

OAINVENTORYMapREV 10 26 15Icon

This discussion began with agreement that the General Plan directs about 75% of future housing into Community Regions, including El Dorado Hills. John Hidahl claimed over 95% of growth has occurred in these areas with population growth of 8% per year in El Dorado Hills. We responded that actual growth in Community Regions since 1999 has fallen short of the target at only 70%, and we forecast an average rate of growth of about 1.5% over the 20+ year life of the General Plan.

John Hidahl provided EDH Fire District data and pointed to a 3% growth rate during the past year and five months in El Dorado Hills. Closer reading of that report (pages 7-8), shows the 10 year average growth rate in El Dorado Hills has actually been about 1.55% per year (from 13,215 to about 15,415 homes).

Our “Black Maps” and report shows all available residential lands in the Community Regions and indicate:

  • Enough planned residential land available to contain 75% of growth inside Community Regions.
  • 95% of residential land in El Dorado Hills has been built (15,400) or was already approved before 1999 (about 5,500) but is not yet built.
  • Assuming 90% of these approved parcels are built over the next 20 years, EDH will experience an annual average growth rate of 1.40 %. If 90% of remaining the residential land in El Dorado Hills that does not have a project approved is added and fully built over the next 20 years, the growth rate would be about 1.66%.
  • The golf course is colored black on our black map because it is open space. The Black Map shows there is enough residential land available in El Dorado Hills and other Community Regions to meet the 75% goal without the golf course. The Board has given absolutely no indication it would approve the Golf Course project.

How does this relate to Measure E and G and EDH?

  • El Dorado Hills will experience about 1.5% annual growth because of projects approved before 1999;
  • As population increases, new CSD, commercial, day cares, senior, churches, facilities and services will be shut down by “stop everything” Measures E & G – population will increase without needed services.
  • The General Plan, including the traffic fee program that has raised over $ 240,000,000 for roads is gutted and we start over with continuing growth, but no plan to manage that growth.

These are legitimate concerns that voters need to address. A long list of trusted individuals and organizations including the Deputy Sheriffs’, the Sacramento Bee, Taxpayer’s Association, El Dorado County Farm Bureau and Winery Association, El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, and 4/5ths of the El Dorado Hills CSD Directors urge a NO vote or state they are voting no on Measures E & G – and give their reasons. Supporters divert meaningful discussion by calling all opposition “developers” or “developer controlled” but offer no meaningful endorsements by trusted independent groups to support their position.

This is a time to set emotions aside and consider the harmful impacts these initiatives will have. “Developers” may be opposed, but so are a broad range of other individuals and groups for very good and valid reasons. For the sake of our community, please vote NO on Measures E & G. 

El Dorado Hills "Black Map"

We received a question by email about information being discussed on the Next Door site in El Dorado Hills that implies Community Regions along the Highway 50 corridor (and especially El Dorado Hills) have borne more than their share of growth and that rural areas should be prepared to accept more growth than currently forecast.  Our response is based on the El Dorado Hills "Black Map" above, which is taken from our research paper found at:  Community Regions Available Land.

John Hidahl posted:

JHidahlNextDoor

Our response:

It is correct that 75% of new housing during the life of the 2004 General Plan (through 2035 or beyond) is forecast to occur in Community Regions. The actual number from 2000 to 2015 has been below projections at about 70%, not 95%. The forecast looks forward, not back, so activity from 30 years ago is not included.

As for the location and density of future housing, see our Community Regions: Available Residential Land Report with a series of maps showing the location and planned density of all General Plan designated residential land remaining in the Community Regions. Lands not available (built-out or non-residential) is blacked out, hence “Black Maps”.

The El Dorado Hills “Black Map” (Above) Illustrates:

1. The overwhelming majority of housing planned for El Dorado Hills under the General Plan has been and will be built on lots that were already approved under Specific Plans, Development Agreements and Tentative Maps approved by 1999.  The El Dorado Hills Black Map shows undeveloped parts of the specific plans in color; developed portions are colored black.

2. Assuming buildout of more than 5,500 remaining approved and entitled lots, and the very limited land outside the specific plans at densities typical of the General Plan land uses, El Dorado Hills existing population will increase at about 1.5% over the next 20+ years. Your inference that El Dorado Hills will experience 8% annual growth is not possible. It would require nearly 20,000 more units than are available under the Black Map and adopted General Plan.

3. The golf course is colored black because it is designated open space on the General Plan land use map. The Black Maps identify only residential lands that are available to meet the 75% goal for the Community Regions under the General Plan.

Anticipating responses to these statements:

1. The county has reviewed the Black Maps and determined the data is accurate. The report and Black Maps were submitted to the county in October 2015. During a May 17, 2016 Board hearing initiating the next General Plan Five Year Review, staff reviewed the Black Map data at the Board’s request and advised that the data is generally consistent with the county’s data.

2. EDCARP receives no contributions or funding from major residential developers. Although the Black Map speaks for itself, we are happy to address questions about the data and assumptions.

Effect of Measures E and G:

Measures E and G would not stop the 1½% annual growth forecast for EDH from the specific plans and lots which were approved by 1999. E and G would stop new CSD projects, commercial, job centers, day care centers, churches, private schools, etc, from serving existing and new residents – more EDH people means less services. Litigation costs related to E & G will reduce funding for road maintenance and repair. All this over concerns about a project that is not in the General Plan, not planned for residential development, where the Black Map and county review indicates sufficient available residential land without the project.  Moreover, the Board has not approved any major residential projects this century and has not even considered the project.

If the goal was to stop specific development projects, simple initiative language could have been written for that purpose.  Instead, whether by mistake or by design, we are faced with confusing and convoluted language with far reaching impacts in our community. 

Jim Moore, Measure Y Committee member, joined with Bill Center to express concerns about overly broad language in Measure E that requires all roads to be "fully completed" before "any form of discretionary approval can be given to a project" - an agricultural project, a residential project, a jobs/commercial project, any discretionary action.  

Jim Moore gets it right.  The language is far too broad.  The prohibition on county approval of discretionary projects contained in Measures E & G, will affect much more than major residential developments.  It impacts projects, uses and activities we want in our communities to protect our quality of life!

Vote NO on E & G!

For the longer video of JIm Moore's statement to the Board of Supervisors on July 29, 2014, see: edcarp.org/poison-pills

Although his political stance may have changed, Bill Center's analysis of the impact of the language in Measure E was right on point.  The ballot measure language hasn't changed since he stood before the Board of Supervisors and made the statement below.  As he says, these initiatives will still stop job centers, research parks, tourist recreation businesses, hotels, wineries, retail stores, even expanding existing businesses

Bill Center is a former member of the Board of Supervisors, and he knows well the meaning of "discretionary". He knows that a prohibition on county approval of discretionary projects, such as found in Measures E & G, will have impacts far beyond major residential developments.

Vote NO on E & G!

For the full video of Bill Center's statement to the Board of Supervisors on July 29, 2014, see: edcarp.org/poison-pills

Words matter, especially language used in ballot measures and other laws. Both poorly written Measures E and G contain "poison pills" that obstruct General Plan implementation, along with economic development, expansion of agriculture, housing and jobs. If adopted, Measures E and G would amend the General Plan to immediately prohibit "any form of discretionary approval for a project"A "discretionary project" is one that involves the exercise of judgement or deliberation when the county decides to approve or disapprove the activity.  The General Plan defines "discretionary decision" and "discretionary project": 

Discretionary definition shadow

Measure E would change voter-adopted Measure Y language (approved by 70% of voters in 2008) to require that all road improvements necessary to prevent cumulative traffic impacts from new development from reaching Level of Service F must be fully completed before any form of discretionary approval can be given to a project.  Paragraph 3 of Measure E reads:

"Cumulative traffic impacts" means more than the traffic impacts caused by a project - it includes the traffic generated by all other development projects anticipated during the planning horizon. Road improvements needed to mitigate cumulative traffic impacts include all the road improvements identified in the General Plan and currently funded by the TIM Fee program - with an estimated cost well over $500 million.  Measure E requires all these improvements to be fully completed before any discretionary approval can be given to a project. The General Plan defines "cumulative impact":

Cumulative language from GP

Alliance for Responsible Planning, along with businesses, the agricultural community and the original Measure Y committee share similar concerns about the effects of these extreme initiatives. Bill Center, a Measure Y Committee member, tells the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors about his concerns in the video below:

"The proposed language seriously changes Measure Y’s purposes... It currently reads... as it would become law if passed, ‘all necessary road improvements shall be fully completed to prevent cumulative traffic impacts from new development from reaching Level of Service "F" during peak hours...' and then the added language is ‘before any form of discretionary approval can be given to a project.’ (at 3:26)

Bill Center continues:

"What concerns me even more greatly, however, is that the language applies to all discretionary projects. A discretionary project is almost every project brought before the Board of Supervisors and/or the Planning Commission, and this language prohibits approving any kind of discretionary project no matter how big or small...Either the intent is to stop virtually all development in El Dorado County, or an unintentional mistake was made...Discretionary variances are often needed to approve job centers, research parks, tourist recreation businesses, hotels, wineries, retail stores, even expanding existing businesses. The list is virtually endless. This language prohibits approving any discretionary project no matter how big or small until all road improvements have been fully completed..." (at 5:00)

In the video clip below, Jim Moore, resident of Camino and member of the Measure Y Committee, concurs:

"As you know, the difference between a discretionary project and a ministerial project is significant. It’s not just big projects. A discretionary project is a variance for a winery I want to build in Camino... (at 0:57)

 

"The language of this measure is so broadly written it exposes everybody... Because the way it’s written is 'all necessary road improvements shall be fully completed' – that’s additional language... 'before any form - any form - of discretionary approval can by given to a project'. An agricultural project, a residential project, a jobs/commercial project, any discretionary action. That’s the problem with this. That language is far too broad...” (at 1:43)

Sue Taylor, Measure E author and proponent responds in the video clip below: 

"I do know about the language... If it’s got such a huge ‘poison pill’, then let it go on the ballot. Let them do the work we had to do to explain to people what this does."

Later in the meeting, County Counsel Ed Knapp tries to clarify the meaning of "discretionary" in the context of land use decisions for the Board.  Sue Taylor tries to shut down the discussion (at 4:00).

A month later, Sue Taylor tells the Board of Supervisors that Measure E is “almost identical” to original Measure Y. Sidestepping the overly restrictive language in Measure E's Paragraph 3 (above), she says that her group "toughened the language" so that "traffic impacts do not go unmitigated" - as if over $200 million in Measure Y road improvements to date didn't mitigate impacts - and to "prevent...to restrict some of the stuff".  She explains parts of the initiative in great detail, but never admits that her Measure E language requires all roads to be built before any form of discretionary approval can be given to a project.  

"Discretionary" actions impacted by these initiatives go far beyond large development projects to include a long list of permits and other applications authorized by the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and Zoning Administrator involving the exercise of judgment or "discretion":

  • A Conditional Use Permit for a commercial kitchen and dining facility at a winery, a hotel, a bed and breakfast inn, certain public park facilities, a new retail business or the expansion of an existing business are all types of "discretionary" actions.
  • A Temporary Use Permit to allow amplified music at a winery concert or the American River Music Festival is a "discretionary" activity.
  • A Variance to reduce a sideyard setback or allow construction of a fence taller than permitted by right is "discretionary".
  • A Parcel Map to divide property, even among family members, is a "discretionary" action prohibited under these initiatives.

No one - not even the initiative proponents - can make the elephant in the room disappear by pretending it doesn't exist. These initiatives are poorly written and will have serious consequences for El Dorado County's economy, agriculture, housing, jobs and our rural lifestyle.  Vote "NO" on Measures E and G.

 

Paid for by:  No on Measure E & G, Sponsored by Alliance for Responsible Planning, P.O. Box 83, Camino, CA  95709; FPPC ID# 1372520