A diverse coalition led by the Building Industry Association (BIA) of San Diego County and local REALTORS® defeated a March 3 ballot measure that could have limited housing development in rural areas of San Diego County, Calif.
Measure A, if passed, would have required a countywide vote on any major housing project that involves a change to the county’s general plan. Developers working on any project larger than six homes would need permission from voters, rather than the approval of three county supervisors, if the project is outside the general plan guidelines for urban growth.
The “No on A” coalition, which brought together labor leaders, first responders and politicians on both sides of the aisle, argued the initiative is anti-growth and anti-housing, noting loopholes and exemptions existed for developments like hotels, resorts and casinos. They also said the current system did not need to change and would only add another regulatory layer to new home building in a county already plagued as one of the top five least affordable housing markets in the nation.
BIA of San Diego County President and CEO Borre Winckel said in a No on A statement, “a coalition of unprecedented diversity and strength came together to defeat this bad public policy – and we are just getting started. We are grateful that people of passion and conviction throughout our region raised their voices in support of the cause, recognizing that we need to remove obstacles to housing and ensure that working people and the next generation of San Diegans can afford to live here.”
“Voters understood Measure A would not do what it promised, that it was riddled with loopholes, and that it would force more San Diegans to pay more for homes and apartments in the midst of our housing affordability crisis,” campaign manager Tony Manolatos added.
NAHB supported the defeat of the measure through its State and Local Issues Fund, which provides financial assistance to local HBAs involved in advocacy efforts that could set a precedent for home builders nationwide.
The slim margin of victory, 51.5% to 48.5%, based on March 10 results includes 100% of precincts reporting. However, it does not include all of the more than 1.35 million mail ballots that need only be postmarked by election day. Additionally, provisional ballots – cast for a variety of reasons – can take an unspecified amount of time to be deemed eligible. Still, news outlets and opponents of Measure A declared the measure defeated.
To see more Election 2020 coverage and our efforts to ensuring housing issues are a key part of the conversation throughout the campaign season, visit nahb.org.