Laura Houle Real Estate Services

Common Sense Land Use Touted

Posted on October 11, 1998 by laura
Laura Houle
Realtor’s Corner (The Daily Californian newspaper)
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
— Article XIV of the U.S. Constitution

I cannot believe anyone would propose such a law as Proposition B! This proposition proposes to limit the size of rural properties to 40 and 80 acres, regardless of the topography of any other factor that is currently considered when planning or building. This proposition does nothing short of rob landowners of their rights without any redeeming or apparent benefit to anyone. Proposition B does not lesson traffic in the cities, nor does it provide any water for the cities.

It has been said that voters, in general, really do no care about anyone’s property rights. In fact, landowners are perceived as wealthy people who do not deserve to be considered at all! When one invests in land, a lot of research goes into it. What is the zoning? What is the General Plan?

If the use of this land is taken away today, what about your house tomorrow? Do not forget that some of the parcels of land have houses on them and the passage of this proposition would limit that person’s right to do whta he had the right to do when he bought it! What if I decided I wanted five feet of the perimeter of your property and that of your neigbors’ so that I could make it into a horse trail for anyone who would want to use it? Does that sound preposterous? San Diego Country Estates was developed that way, but people knew it when they bought it. That’s fair! The first scenario is not.

Some proponents of Proposition B choose inappropriate and inciteful words when explaining their position; they say our beautiful back country will be overrun by “rampant growth” and “shopping malls” if we do not pass their proposal. This could never happen.

There are not enough people in those areas, nor would there ever be, to support any such development. There is no sewer or city water. The cost to bring those improvements in would preclude significant development.

There is very little flat land. Some of it, especially the land bordering the Cleveland National Forest, is extremely steep. It will not support commercial farming. It is suitable for 20-acre parcels, which a person might farm for their own use and enjoyment.

Much of this land is so remote it is not even seen by the public, yet the owners — who will be expected to continue paying taxes on the land — would see its value depreciated by this proposition that hides under the beautiful words of “Save Our Rural Heritage and Watershed.”

Proponents bemoan the loss of the orange groves of the 1940s that subsequently gave way to development. Well, where would our people be living today if the orange groves I remember on Pepper Drive in El Cajon were still there? Some of you would not be in your current homes.

If you look around, you will find that there are new orange groves springing up in various areas. Actually, the marketplace is the determining factor of growth and of type of growth. Housing growth will continue, but it will not be in our mountain area, which is the area singled out in this proposition. We must focus our energies on transportation and building the highways to support the populace.

I find it ironic that Duncan McFeteridge, the man behind Prop. B, enjoys living on a 2-acre plot in Descanso. The truth of it is, many years have passed since anyone could live on a 2-acre parcel in his area. Each rural community has a planning group and its input is given to the county. These groups also develop community plans that can override zoning.

Land use planning should be based on common sense, not emotion. Protero, Tecate, Campo, etc. could develop into nice little communities under our present planning structure, but under this initiative, forget it!

Why should our people be forced to move to Idaho or Wyoming to enjoy a 10-, 20- or 30-acre site? By the way, you should all venture out to those other states to appreciate the planning that we have here.

Leave land use planning to our Department of Planning and Land Use and the small, affected communities that have always been in the best position to protect their own interests. Please be guided by common sense when you go to the polls. Should this proposition pass, it will certainly be challenged in the courts on constitutional grounds.

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