Voters Appear To Reject Measure B, North County Housing Proposal
UPDATE 3:05 p.m., March 9, 2020:
Results so far show Measure B, which asked county residents to decide the fate of the Newland Sierra housing project north of Escondido, being turned down with the majority of voters saying no.
Also known as the Better Choice Measure, Measure B would have upheld the county supervisors' approval of a general plan amendment to allow the Newland Sierra project to go forward.
Measure B is the first-ever chance for San Diego County residents to vote on a large housing project that was previously approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Measure B will decide whether the Newland Sierra project moves forward. A yes vote on measure B allows the project to be built. A no vote overturns the supervisor’s approval.
Developers want to build 2,100 homes, retail space, trails, parks and set aside some open space near Interstate 15, just north of Escondido.
The land is currently zoned as rural or semi-rural, but project backers pushed for an amendment to the county’s development guidelines greatly increasing housing density.
County supervisors granted permission for the project, but opponents gathered enough petition signatures to force the measure onto the March ballot.
Supporters of the project argued the county needs the development.
“San Diego is suffering from a severe housing crisis,” said Kenneth Moore, spokesman for Yes on Measure B. “And unfortunately the people that are hurt most by this severe housing crisis is working families in San Diego County.”
“We can’t let narrow special interests of a $10,000 a week luxury spa take precedence over affordably priced housing for working families,” Moore said.
The housing project is being opposed by owners of the Golden Door Resort near Escondido which promises visitors privacy, serenity and light.
Opponents of Measure B argued developers of the Newland Sierra project took advantage of the system.
“They got cheap land because this project wasn’t supposed to be there. And they’re going to up-zone it and they’re going to make over a billion dollars,” said Clif Williams, a Measure B opponent.
It was the first time county voters got a chance to give their input on a major land use decision in the backcountry.
“This is the people of San Diego saying we’ve had enough of these sprawl developments and we’re not going to allow it to happen,” Williams said.