Newland Sierra
The site of the planned 2,100-home Newland Sierra community east of Escondido is an example of the type of development that would require a countywide vote under Measure A. Photo courtesy of Newland Communities

The San Diego County Democratic Party announced its opposition this week to a ballot measure that would limit housing development on rural land.

Measure A, which was introduced as Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside, would require a countywide vote on any housing development seeking to add six or more units than permitted by current zoning.

“Measure A is bad public policy that would prevent badly needed affordable housing from being built and contribute to racial and economic segregation,” said Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the local party, after leadership voted on Tuesday. “It would force more San Diegans to move to Riverside or Tijuana to find housing, and cause more vulnerable people to end up homeless.”

Proponents of the measure say the county’s general plan already permits sufficient new housing around built-up village areas like Alpine, Julian and Ramona, and that developers are circumventing the plan by asking the Board of Supervisors to approve exceptions. The measure is supported by a wide range of environmental organizations.

Opposition to the measure, which will appear on the March 3 primary ballot, has received bipartisan support amid California’s housing crisis.

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