Simi Valley, just over the hill from Northridge and one of LA's closest Ventura County neighbors, sure feels a lot of pressure to grow up. To stem the tide of sprawl, the city will consider a ballot initiative in the upcoming November 6 election to renew the city's Managed Growth Plan. Sounds innocuous enough; everyone can agree that growth should be managed, right? Measure N, as it's called, will renew for eight years a plan originally approved in 2004 that's set to expire at the end of the year. What does the growth plan do? Well, according to the Ventura County Star, the Managed Growth Plan "caps the number of housing unit permits that can be issued annually at 292." That seems a bit drastic! If there were to be a discussion about where to house the 4.3 million newcomers projected to arrive in California by 2020, Simi Valley (population 125,522) would obviously be off the table. Lancaster and Palmdale it is then!
Ventura County is famous for its slow growth policies, most notably the SOAR initiative (Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources). That initiative, at least in part, lives up to its name and keeps developers looking elsewhere for business. And don't expect the political winds to change any time soon. The sample ballot lists zero opposition to Measure N, but the language in support of the measure reaffirms the city council's desire to stay vigilant against the ever-present developer menace: "Although previous growth control ordinances have been effective in our city in order to curtail rapid growth, your City Council still believes that the rate of growth continues to be an issue that needs to be controlled to ensure our quality of life ... While big development is not as prevalent as it once was, we still need to be vigilant to ensure that any future development follows clear guidelines so that our community can continue to thrive."
And in case you're a policy wonk with an eye toward the land use policy around the state, not just in your own backyard, the California Planning and Development Report has its traditional run down of all the land use initiatives appearing on ballot in the upcoming election.
· Simi voters to again weigh growth control measure [VC Star]