Mission Viejo Measure D FAQ’s

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Thumbs up on Mission Viejo Measure D

The following report is from the editor of the Mission viejo Dispatch. While the “Special Interests” have probably spent over $100,000 to oppose the Mission Viejo “Right to Vote” Ballot Measure D, the Dispatch provides 18 questions on the Measure with corresponding answers. www.missionviejodispatch.com
Measure D FAQs

by MissionViejoDispatch.com on May 25, 2010
The Dispatch supports the Right To Vote Initiative (Measure D) because D provides a unique opportunity for voters to enact protection for our nationally acclaimed master plan.  Special interests are pouring a lot of money into defeating D because they don’t want residents interfering with their potential profits from higher density and urbanization. Hopefully the following FAQs will be helpful:

Q.  Why is the Right-To-Vote Initiative on the June 8 ballot?

A.  Because 8,372 voting residents signed petitions in support of a ballot measure giving voters oversight of major changes to the MV master plan.

Q.  Why are residents concerned?

A.  The quality of life in many OC cities has been degraded by major zoning changes when a toxic mix of politicians and developers increased land use density without voter approval.

Q.  What are the problems with higher density?

A.  Overdevelopment creates adverse impacts to traffic, schools, sports parks, public facilities, open space, aesthetics, and infrastructure.

Q.  Why now?

A.  Mission Viejo is virtually built-out creating more pressure for high-rise and in-fill expansion. The population and number of homes already exceed the maximum planned when Mission Viejo was incorporated.

Q.  Have other cities adopted right-to-vote measures?

A.  Voters in Orange County’s two most affluent cities, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda, passed similar measures requiring voter approval of major zoning changes. Those cities have beautiful neighborhoods, top-rated schools and vibrant business communities. MV’s Measure D is modeled after the unchallenged Yorba Linda ordinance.

Q.  Who are the opponents of Measure D?

A.  Opponents are primarily those who could profit from more homes and population. The Association of Realtors would benefit from more houses and is paying for slick anti-D mailers and street signs. Also involved in the anti-D campaign is the public relations consultant for the developer which tried to buy Casta del Sol Golf Course for high density housing. Many wealthy special interests stand to financially benefit from more urbanization.

Q.     Was the ballot argument against Measure D found misleading by a court trial?

A.   A Superior Court judge recently found the opponents’ official ballot argument against Measure D was factually false or misleading and ordered the City Clerk and County Registrar to remove significant statements. One of those statements claimed Casta Golf Course was forever protected from housing development by state law and flood control; another claimed businesses wishing to expand their facilities would have to go to a full vote of the people at their own expense; another claimed residents would be “forced” to pay for subsidized housing. All three were deemed false. Supporters of D believe the remaining statement still includes substantial false opinion, but false “opinion” cannot be legally removed.

Q.  Does the anti-D group have a spokesperson?

A.  The lead spokesperson against D at a recent Cox TV forum was an attorney from an L.A.-based law firm of over 400 lawyers which handles land-use entitlements for developers across the Western U.S.

Q.   Do the supporters of Measure D have a financial interest in passage?

A.  Supporters of Measure D are grassroots citizens. There is no perceived benefit to them other than preserving the master plan to protect the future livability of the community.

Q.  Would Measure D eliminate the City Council’s role in zoning decisions?

A.  Measure D continues to require the City Council to approve or disapprove all regular and major zoning changes. Voters would only have a right to ratify or reject Council approval on ten specific types of major changes to the master plan.

Q.   Would voters be able to initiate new zoning changes under Measure D?

A.  No.

Q.  Would Measure D affect renovations or additions by homeowners on their lots?

A.  No. Homeowner applications would continue to go to the Planning Department and Planning Commission.

Q.  Would Measure D affect business renovations or expansions?

A.  Business expansions for commercial use on existing commercial property are not affected and would not go to voters. Businesses could also seek annexation and rezoning of up to two non-commercial acres for expansion without voter approval. Measure D does not affect new businesses locating to Mission Viejo’s commercial properties.

Q.  Would Measure D “kill jobs?”

A.  This is a scare tactic by D opponents. Measure D does not burden existing businesses nor discourage new businesses in Mission Viejo’s ample commercially zoned properties. The strong business climate in Newport Beach and Yorba Linda is proof.

Q.  Would “local control” be reduced?

A.  Local control would be enhanced, because in addition to Council approval, some matters would require a second level of local control, voter ratification.

Q.  Would subsidized housing matters be turned over to the State?

A.  This is another false scare tactic by D opponents. State affordable housing law already pre-empts non-compliant actions on affordable housing by either the City Council or by voters.

Q.  Would elections on major zoning change requests by developers/property owners be at city expense?

A.  The party/applicant requesting major zoning changes pays the election expense.

Q.  Would property rights be affected?

A.  Measure D helps protect the property rights of homeowners by preserving the nationally acclaimed Mission Viejo master plan that they “bought” with their homes. It also protects the property rights of commercial property owners who don’t want their interests impacted by future adjacent non-conforming uses. It also protects the right of land purchasers to use their property as provided under the existing Mission Viejo master plan, which constitutes a community compact for the mutual benefit of all residents and business owners.

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