Initiatives take another step toward ballot |

Initiatives take another step toward ballot

Two initiatives affecting growth in Grass Valley moved closer to appearing on November’s ballot Wednesday.

Deadlines for arguments that will appear on the ballot for the two initiatives were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday at city hall, and four groups submitted five arguments.

Rebuttals to the arguments are due no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 6.

The Managed Growth Initiative would extend the life of the land-use element of the city’s 2020 General Plan until 2038. It would also require a majority of the city’s voters to approve most amendments to the land-use element of the plan.

It’s supported by Friends of Grass Valley, a coalition of Citizens Concerned About Traffic and the Rural Quality Coalition.

Opponents to the plan say it would drive developers to take their projects into the county rather than spend money on an election, unintentionally creating the sprawl the initiative supporters hope to stem.

An alternative measure called the “Urban Growth Boundary, Fiscal Assurance and Residential Development Limitation Initiative” was offered in response. It is supported by Mayor Mark Johnson, former city Councilman Steve Enos, city Historic Commission member Peggy Levine, community volunteer leader Dennis Cassella and Loma Rica Ranch developer Phil Carville.

It limits new residential growth by turning the city’s urban boundary on planning documents into law, capping the number of residential building permits available and requiring new development to complete a fiscal impact analysis prior to approval.

Critics say the counter initiative supports big developers and a business-as-usual policy.

As part of a resolution approved unanimously at the July 22 City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Lisa Swarthout and Councilman Dan Miller were authorized to write an argument against the Managed Growth Initiative.

Mayor Mark Johnson and Howard Levine submitted an argument for the Urban Boundary Initiative. Friends of Grass Valley submitted an argument against it and an argument in support of their Managed Growth Initiative.

City Clerk Kristi Bashor said there is no limit to the number of arguments that can be filed.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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