A rendering of the planned town center for the Newland Sierra project in North County. Courtesy of the developer

It’s no secret that San Diego County is experiencing a severe housing crisis, with little-to-no affordable housing options for local working families. Every day, working San Diegans are being displaced and forced to find housing for their families in distant areas like Riverside County and beyond. As a result, they are subjected to time-consuming commutes and prolonged traffic congestion on their way to and from work.

In the March 3 primary election, we can help reverse this crisis and support our working families by voting “yes” on Measure B, known as the Better Choice Measure.

Voting in favor of Measure B will uphold approval of Newland Sierra, a community with 2,135 new homes and 1,209 acres of permanent open space, located right off Interstate 15 and close to Vista, Escondido and San Marcos. Ideally located near more than 280,000 jobs along the Route 78 corridor, the addition of these new homes will provide a place for people to live near their work.

Most importantly, 60 percent of the new homes would be affordable for working families and seniors. Ten percent of those units would be rentals that are attainable for low-income families. Rental units would start around $1,400 per month, and for-sale homes would start in the mid-$300,000’s.

These commitments to provide affordably-priced housing are guaranteed through a deed restriction recorded on the title of the property. The affordability terms are legally enforceable, binding and cannot be amended. This week, the San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk verified that the Newland group officially filed a legal covenant to create and prioritize affordably priced homes for working families in December 2019, and confirmed it was done in accordance with California state law.

Voting “yes” on Measure B provides a better choice for the development of this property. It is currently zoned to permit a massive, 2 million square-foot retail and office development with 99 mansions. Voting in favor of B will provide a better choice — much needed affordable housing, open space, and trails and parks — instead of a mega-mall.

This proposed community already went through the required public planning process and was unanimously approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 2018. The only reason Measure B is on the ballot is because the wealthy, out-of-town owners of the nearby $10,000-a-week Golden Door Spa spent millions to force a countywide vote. While San Diego’s working families suffer from the housing crisis, the Golden Door’s owners are wining and dining celebrities and spending millions to fight Measure B because they don’t want any neighbors.

We must place the needs of San Diego’s working families before the needs of wealthy owners of a luxury spa and their celebrity clientele.

As the leaders of The Chicano Federation, Casa Familiar and MAAC, we are proud to stand with a countywide, bipartisan coalition in support of voting “yes” on Measure B. Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, the Asian Business Association, Cal Fire Firefighters Local 2881, Laborers Local 89, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and many others all support voting “yes” on B.

Together, let’s help solve this housing crisis, support our region’s working families and help our local businesses thrive. This March, as trusted advocates for affordable housing, we are asking you to vote in favor of Measure B.

Nancy Maldonado is CEO of The Chicano Federation. Lisa Cuestas is president and executive director of Casa Familiar. Arnulfo Manriquez is president and CEO of MAAC.

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