Proposition E Controversy
By Theresa Acerro
There are problems with the opposing argument for the ballot measure. Of 18 dubious opinions expressed none can be backed up by documentary evidence-except the names of the supporters. The letter and flier mailed and distributed by these organizations further prove the invalidity of their arguments by focusing on slandering a community minded citizen who wants the government to be more responsive to citizens. His name is mentioned eight times and associated with words like “sleazy, backdoor, scheme, speculator.” Community activists should not be personally attacked. If someone has a valid problem with the Initiative then they should be able to express counter arguments substantiated by factual documents. Not doing so makes this a personal attack against a man who has done much to help our community. We all need to remember that Earl Jentz was the major contributor to the ballot initiative called Proposition C, which has eliminated the threat of eminent domain for the economic benefit of developers from Chula Vista. Click to see the staff report on the Initiative.
Mayor Cox and Vice-Mayor Rindone, demonstrating why we cannot trust our elected officials to make land use decisions that will protect the character of our community, signed the Opposing Argument for the ballot measure. The white statements are directly from this argument.
On the contrary it is a step forward. The General Plan Protection Initiative (GPPI) helps the citizens of Chula Vista who gave input during the General Plan Update process saying they were concerned about rapid growth and Crowding (164 out of 180 people). The 107 out of 120 who wanted to Maintain the Small Town Atmosphere of CV. And the 2,113 out of 2,500 who said Community Character was the most important thing that the General Plan must protect. Giving the citizens the ultimate decision is a way to make the elected (and appointed) officials listen to the citizens and reminding them who is supposed to be in charge.
: This is nonsense the GPPI protects the General Plan from amendments to the height regulations now in the plan. It protects the years of citizen work on both the east and west. Every developer will have to go through all the public hearings and environmental reviews now required. HE OR SHE WILL JUST BE ABLE TO AVOID THE ADDED TIME AND EXPENSE OF PROCESSING A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT. Quite possibly getting on the ballot at the next election will take less time than going through the typical processing of a General Plan Amendment, and certainly could cost less considering the city charges up to $333 an hour for staff time. (Click here to view the itemized bill for 3 months of staff time for a uncomplicated 5 unit on one parcel project requiring no variances or zone changes. These are typical charges and this is only a small part of the total bill.) (This is the report these fees are based upon.)
This Initiative is no threat to the local economy, jobs or city services. The poor fiscal practices of past councils and the binge spending of one time income that have produced our current deficits are the real threat to the local economy, jobs and city services. Too many homes were built too fast without provision of ongoing income to provide services to them and at a fee deficit as shown by fee report issued in January of 2007. Since 2003 councils have been drawing down the reserves inorder to continue spending more than they were taking in. (last slide) It is simply not true that development paid for itself. Development did pay for many one time expenses but it did not provide a revenue stream to keep the roads fixed and staff everything. There is absolutely no evidence that the height limits currently in the General Plan discourage anyone from locating here or drive down property values. There was a huge amount of discussion about this during the General Plan and Urban Core Specific Plan process. There were even two financial reports done for the city that showed high rises would not be financially beneficial. ERA 6/2/05 and KMA 8/30/04
buildings could have been built after an election, and actually it is very
likely people would have voted for the facility run by a non-profit for low
income seniors. The council can put the expense of the election upon the
developer if it does not approve the project before the vote. The city will
bear the expense only if the council votes for approval before the election has
been held as per section 3 of the Initiative: “D. In the event that the
City Council approves a change, amendment or other land use decision which
must, by the terms of this initiative, be approved by the voters of the City of
Chula Vista in order to become effective, the City Council shall set the matter
for public vote.
E. The City Council shall call any election required by this initiative for the next available general municipal election or may, in its discretion, set a special election.”
The council is also free to enact an ordinance stating that all expenses from the required election for a project requiring a General Plan Amendment due to a desire to exceed the height limits of the General Plan will be borne by the applicant. The cost of the election is dependent entirely upon the number of items on the ballot. Good timing could keep the cost down by placing a vote on a ballot with a lot of items. Who pays for it is up to the Council.
These are interesting statements since the opponents of this measure are the ones producing political propaganda and there is no reason this Initiative should restrict our future. Escondido has had Proposition S for many years and many, many things have been built in Escondido.. The Initiative actually gives control of the future to the citizens of Chula Vista.
Proposition S in Escondido requires a vote of the people any time a General Plan amendment would increase density or change a land use. It has not stopped development in Escondido. The GPPI requires a vote only for an extremely limited and rare circumstance- a rise in height over what is now allowed in the General Plan. This is not likely to come up often, if at all. Most developers are going to buy land based upon what they would like to do, rather than hassle with expenses and time involved in getting an amendment to the General Plan.
The Initiative blocks nothing it just allows the citizens to vote on any request to exceed current height restrictions. A hospital, church or school with a good plan well explained to the community should have no trouble getting people to vote for their building. They would not need to invest any money on a campaign. I don’t believe these non-profits who are always asking people to donate money to them would want to anger potential donors with a horrible building plan. Having people vote on it would be a great fund-raising opportunity. It is developers who have no desire to consider the residents who will have trouble getting approval, which is exactly as it should be.
(On March 23, 2008 The CEO of Scripps was interviewed by the U-T and he said that there are no plans at the moment to expand the Chula Vista hospital. They planned to work on the Hillcrest branch first.) The Chula vista branch is in an awkward position with the city of Chula Vista. They actually owe the city almost a million dollars which they would like to avoid paying. The city started to put pressure on them in December to pay this money. The city keeps saying that it is important to them to keep the hospital, but they forced the hospital to sign a development agreement that required the hospital to pay the city money it does not have!! This makes no sense. The city should be trying to help the hospital not shake it down for money.
On November 20, 2007 between 3:30 and 4:30PM the city manager and the Assistant Redevelopment Director met with Mr. Hoff of Scripps trying to push him into committing to expand the hospital in Chula Vista. (Click to see Eric Crockett’s calendar.) On December 14, 2007 Maria Kachadoorian (the city’s Director of Finance/Treasurer) wrote Mr. Hoff (the operating officer of Scripps, Chula Vista) a letter stating “The agreement” (made in 1997 whereby the redevelopment agency used eminent domain to seize property so Scripps could expand) “requires the injured party (Redevelopment Agency) to provide written notice of default to Scripps allowing 30 days to cure said default. This letter will serve as the required 30-day notice.” Essentially a demand to be paid. This table is in the letter showing the details of the amounts owed through June 30, 2008.
Mr. Hoff responded on January 10, 2008. In this letter he states that Scripps is in the process of developing a proposal that they would present to the city in late February. Considering the comments of the CEO of the two hospitals in the article on March 23, 2008 it is not likely this proposal will be a plan to build. Was it cooperation on campaign against E??? Who knows?
An article in the Union Tribune on 3/31/08 said both hospitals-Scripps and Sharp were putting expansion plans on hold until after the June vote, but the fact of the matter is neither one has the money or any plans to expand at this point in time. One wonders if they will ever be able to afford the expense of highrise buildings considering the escalating price of concrete and steel and their huge losses due to the increasing numbers of under and uninsured patients using their emergency rooms as primary care facilities?? Scripps does not have the money to pay the city what it owes. The city manager says they are working on a “payment plan.” This does not seem like the best way to help the hospital. The Redevelopment Agency is a bigger threat to the financial health of Scripps Hospital at the moment than this Initiative.
As far as the University is concerned. Decisions on the University focus area were deferred until a University Focus Plan was prepared: “FINAL ACTION DEFERRAL AREAS
On December 13, 2005, per Resolution No. 2005-424, the Chula Vista City Council deferred final action on provisions relating to Villages Eight, Nine, and Ten/University in Otay Ranch for an interim period. This did not affect circulation roadway classifications or locations. Through final General Plan formatting, Figure 5-45, Eastern University District, and Figure 5-46, Focus Areas, as referenced in City Council Resolution 2005-424, section IV.1.(d)(11), have been renumbered as Figure 5-46 and Figure 5-47. The affected text is shown with shading, and the affected areas in Figures 5-12, 5-46 and 5-47 are shown with cross-hatching.” page LUT 285
This statement is found on the final page of section 10 in Chapter Five Land Use in the General Plan. Virtually everything about the University, Research Center, and University Village have been deferred until a Focus Plan can be developed, when there is/are actual Universities wanting to do something, and the city has acquired all the land needed. Sections 10.5.4-.8, including LUT 84-93.3 are virtually all shaded to indicate that no decision has been made on these items. Even whether there is to be a university or not has not been officially determined by the General Plan. There is the alternative of one home per 10 acres mentioned as a shaded alternative. Obviously since this is not part of the General Plan the Initiative does not have any effect upon it. Mr. Jentz is suing over the sentence concerning the University in the opposition argument.
• This is one of bullets in letter from CV Tax payers for Responsible Planning: “Real estate speculator Earl Jentz, who owns at least 35 properties in the City of Chula Vista, has spent more than $370,000 over the past two years promoting ballot measures designed to give him control over planning and development in our city.” (The correct figure is $199,873 and Mr. Jentz is a local resident, parent, realtor and property owner not a speculator.)
This Initiative will give no one person control over planning and development. It will give ALL the voters control over any change to the current height limits in the General Plan. There is a one block area on Third Avenue where heights will be restricted to 45 feet facing Third Avenue to keep that block the same height as the rest of Third Avenue, but otherwise the Initiative only maintains what is in the General Plan. The University Property has not been planned yet so it would not be affected by the Initiative, and the Bayfront is dealt with in the Initiative in this way: “No voter approval shall be required for any General Plan change affecting the Bayfront Planning Area, as identified in the Land Use Element of the Chula Vista General Plan as amended and adopted in 1989, or any area west of Interstate 5.”(GPPI)
• Another bullet states: “The Jentz Initiative would impose a one-size-fits-all approach to architectural design in our downtown, producing block-style buildings” No where does the Initiative mention architectural design. The wording in the Initiative is: “B. Protection of Third Avenue Village. No building that is part of any development in the Third Avenue Village, which fronts on Third Avenue between E Street and G Street, shall exceed 45 feet in height, notwithstanding any other provision of the Chula Vista General Plan.”(GPPI ) Variety can easily be achieved with a variety of heights under 45 feet as well as innovative and creative design features. Unfortunately some of the things mentioned in the UCSP will make building very difficult, but that is another matter entirely.
TO READ THE Initiative Please go to: http://www.generalplanprotection.com/