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

A ballot measure that would limit housing development on rural land has picked up new supporters in recent weeks, and San Diego mayoral candidate Barbara Bry has moved from opposing the measure to taking a neutral position.

Bry said she is generally opposed to “ballot box land-use planning,” but concluded after further study of the measure that it will simply uphold the current San Diego County land use plan and thus decided to take a neutral position.

Notable new supporters of the measure include Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara and former San Diego City Councilmember Donna Frye.

 “I support Measure A because, similar to Escondido’s Proposition S, it will help preserve the integrity of the consensus-based general plan that maps out smart land use planning for a growing region and it will encourage more entry-level, workforce housing in the county as it has in Escondido,” said McNamara.

Measure A, which was introduced as Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside, would require a countywide vote whenever a developer seeks to amend the general plan in a rural or semi-rural area to build six or more units than currently allowed.

Supporters say Escondido’s Proposition S, passed in 1998, has made it easier for developers to secure approval for projects and assert that Measure A will have a similar effect across the county.

The San Diego County Democratic Party announced its opposition to the measure in December, with chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy arguing it would “contribute to racial and economic segregation” by discouraging construction of new homes.

The controversial measure will be on the March 3 Presidential primary ballot.

Updated at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020

Chris Jennewein

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