Yuba County ag land measure OK for November ballot
Yuba County voters will decide in November if they should consider the fate of development projects that run afoul of the General Plan instead of the Board of Supervisors.
Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen said a measure to decide that question has qualified for the ballot, needing a simple majority to pass.
The measure's main proponent, Supervisor Hal Stocker, said he was happy his signature-gathering effort was successful, but also disappointed it couldn't happen sooner.
When he brought the measure before the full board in May to put on the ballot, Supervisors Roger Abe, John Nicoletti and Andy Vasquez voted not to do so.
"They had the ability to put this on the ballot, and they didn't," he said. "Obviously, there are a number of voters who wanted it on the ballot. Do they think they're smarter than the voters?"
The measure asks whether development proposals that change land designated in the General Plan for agriculture or open space should be placed on the ballot.
Stocker said the measure to preserve undeveloped areas is based on one approved in Napa County 25 years ago, in response to development pressure from people moving from nearby Bay Area cities.
"They've done so well economically in Napa County, and that's what I really want to see here," he said. "You can't do that if you pave it all over and take out the orchards and farmlands and put in houses."
But the measure is likely to have some strident opposition. When it came before the board, members of the Yuba County Republican Party said it would constitute an attack on private property rights.
And county GOP spokesman Buck Weckman said last month if the measure qualified, he would guarantee a strong campaign to defeat it.
Hansen said the measure had more than 1,700 qualified signatures of registered voters, beating the necessary mark by about 100. Stocker had submitted about 2,220 signatures.
She said the tally would be forwarded to the board for its first meeting in August for placement on the November ballot.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.