Measure A is a perfect example of what goes wrong when legislation is drafted in a closed door environment. The draconian restrictions it would impose, if passed, would dramatically and adversely affect farmers, ranchers and owners of hillside properties many of whom were not included in the process of drafting Measure A.
Over the years, these groups, in conjunction with environmentalists, realtors and taxpayer, have worked together to create clear and effective regulations within the General Plan, to strengthen environmental protections on the hillsides where opponents of Measure A live and work. Measure A would invalidate all of these previous regulations and would replace them with unclear and untested rules, created by a minority group of environmentalists who are seeking a way to regulate land use without participating in the public process.
Most importantly, this initiative would have an undeniable and detrimental impact on local property values and property rights. As written, Measure A would downzone and devalue over 400,000 acres in unincorporated Santa Clara County which is roughly half the land in the county. If passed, Measure A would increase minimum parcel sizes to 160 acres, require clustering of residential units and dedication of open space easements, prohibit construction of granny flats on single-family homes and restrict the construction of processing, storage and other non-residential structures.
Proponents of Measure A are encouraging support based on concern for the environment and the need for open space. While these are valid concerns, the reality is that the majority of the land that would be affected is owned and utilized by ranchers and farmers. These groups are extremely conscious of the environment and have historically worked to preserve and protect natural resources. There is no need to impose regulations that not only ignore their previous protection of the land, but also severely limit their future ability to utilize the land and ensure their livelihood.
As residents of Santa Clara County, we are all responsible for the smart growth and use of our land. To allow a small group to dictate the future use of over 400,000 acres, without widespread input, is not an exercise of that responsibility. I plan to VOTE NO on Measure A and hope that the rest of our community does the same.