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2006-05-14
San Luis Obispo, CA. Rejected Developer Puts Target, Lowe’s Mall On The Ballot

Just a little over a year ago, Sprawl-Busters reported that voters in San Luis Obispo in a special election voted 51% to reject a big box superstore project, including a Target, Lowe's and an Old Navy. Voters rebuffed the so-called Dalidio Ranch Marketplace. Here is an update received this week by citizens who are still fighting the Dalidio project: "In April of 2005 the voters of the city of San Luis Obispo California successfully overturned Council approval of a huge mega-mall located in the county on the edge of town. Instead of scaling back the project, the developer/owner Ernie Dalidio, backed by his developer partners, Scott Dabney of Texas and Bill Bird of L.A., are placing an initiative on the SLO County ballot this November that would allow them to build the biggest shopping center in the county (approximately 530,000 square feet) on the city's border, omitting most of the mitigations which were required by the city. The developers are using an aggressive tactic to force the project upon city residents by going "over their head" to county voters. The initiative, if approved, would undermine local control and set a dangerous precedent. It would mean that county voters would be making decisions about projects near cities and unincorporated communities, leaving local residents and/or elected officials with no say. The county would get all of the sales tax and the city would get all of the environmental impacts and traffic. Alarmed by this development, a county wide group, County Coalition for Local Control (CCLC) is organizing to oppose this initiative. If county voters are gullible enough to shut their eyes and 'just vote yes,' a giant shopping mall or nuclear power plant or landfill (whatever the developer wants) could spring up next to any community, anywhere, despite the General Plan, zoning, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). There is no Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required for a project approved by initiative. The Dalidio Ranch initiative would preempt all zoning ordinances and be exempted from state law requiring analysis of related traffic, air quality, flood hazard, school, water, sewer, fire, police and other community needs and effects. It would be a law unto itself, a law by the developers for the developers. Because there will be no EIR, voters will not have the benefit of all the hard facts regarding the project's impacts, or whether the whole county or only one city would pay for them. For example, what effect would a project that size in that location have on Highway 101 traffic? When project was on the city ballot, the EIR said that the mall would generate so much traffic, that a new overpass would have to be built to handle it, and even so there would be gridlock on neighboring roads. That is one reason city voters rejected the project. They did not want a project that big in that location and did not want to pay for the overpass. This 'city voters and impact analysis be damned' approach to development, if county voters are gullible enough to allow it, would be the fastest way to break our county wide open to rampant, uncontrolled development. The stakes are very high. Defeating this initiative will take an incredible amount of dedication and hard work."

What you can do: The County Coalition for Local Control (CCLC) is asking for assistance. If you want to help preserve the county and fight this huge mall, send a postcard with your name, address, phone numbers and email address to CCLC, Post Office Box 121, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 or call (805) 594-8888. Financial contributions to help the residents of San Luis Obispo can be made out to CCLC, and mailed to the above address. To contact local leaders in CCLC, contact info@sprawl-busters.com.










 
 
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