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Housing Industry Pushing Against San Diego's Measure A

Dueling websites in the battle over Measure A in San Diego County on Feb. 6, 2020
Tony Zuniga
Dueling websites in the battle over Measure A in San Diego County on Feb. 6, 2020

The effort to turn away a potentially huge change to how the county approves large housing developments in rural areas is getting a big financial boost from the housing industry.

Developers, contractors and realtors have donated nearly $1.3 million to the bid to defeat Measure A at the polls on March 3.

The initiative proposes changing the process for approving housing developments that fall outside of the county’s general plan guidelines.

Instead of letting the San Diego County Board of Supervisors have the final word, voters would weigh in on projects with six houses or more, if those projects require an amendment to the General Plan and if it increases housing density on rural, or semi-rural, lands.

The Building Industry Association set up the No on A committee and has contributed nearly $150,000 to the effort to defeat Measure A.

The top contributors are the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, who each contributed $350,000 since the first of last year.

The money is paying for broadcast and digital ad campaigns.

RELATED: Measure A Would Dramatically Change How Rural Land Is Developed In San Diego County

Measure A opponents say wealthy out-of-state Wall Street investors, owners of the Golden Door Spa, wrote and funded the initiative.

The San Marcos spa owners did contribute $215,000 to gather signatures putting the issue on the ballot in 2018, but they have not contributed any money to the effort since then.

Backers of Measure A, the Save Our San Diego Countryside initiative, have raised just over $160,000, more than half of the money coming from individual donors, since the beginning of 2019.

The largest single contributor to the Yes on Measure A effort is the San Pedro, California-based Endangered Habitats League which donated $75,000.

With fewer resources, backers are relying on digital ads to reach voters.

A yes vote on Measure A adds a countywide vote to housing projects that need an amendment to the General Plan.

A no vote keeps the current system where county supervisors have the final say.

Housing Industry Pushing Against San Diego's Measure A
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.