Homes under construction. Photo courtesy County News Center

The campaign against Measure A — the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside initiative — picked up key bipartisan support in the past week.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, a Democrat, both went on record opposing the measure, which would require a countywide vote for any new housing develop in rural areas that exceeds current zoning by six units.

“I‘m strongly opposed to Measure A because it would worsen our housing crisis and damage our regional economy,” Faulconer said. “The measure locks in bad policies that would drive more of our neighbors and co-workers out of town in search of cheaper housing.”

The “No on A” campaign argues the initiative will slow housing construction, favor luxury estates over affordable homes, and is unfair because voters throughout the county can determine whether a rural project is built.

Backers of the measure say it will reinforce the county’s award-winning “smart growth” general plan by ensuring that developers who seek special exemptions obtain voter approval. They argue the initiative will protect natural areas and farmland and keep new housing developments out of high-risk fire areas.

A related ballot issue concerns plans for 2,135 homes in rural land east of Escondido. The Newland Sierra project was approved by county supervisors as a general plan amendment, but opponents collected 117,000 signatures to put the matter before voters.

The mayors of all five North County cities – Escondido, Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Oceanside — have since endorsed Measure B, whose passage would allow the project to proceed..

San Diego County voters will weigh in on both initiatives in the March 3 primary.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.