Commuters heading toward the Lilac Road Bridge crossing Interstate 15 north of Escondido. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A group of “extreme commuters” on Monday urged voters to reject Measure A, contending that requiring a countywide vote on each new development would make San Diego’s strained housing market worse.

Measure A, if passed, would force a countywide vote on any project that seeks to add six units more than currently permitted by the county’s General Plan. Proponents say it will limit further suburban sprawl.

The commuters, some of whom travel daily from Tijuana or Riverside County to work in San Diego, gathered in a City Heights park to say they have largely been priced out of San Diego County and the measure would exacerbate the issue.

“The thought of leaving San Diego, a home where I’ve built a career and family, is heartbreaking to me but I can’t ignore the fact that rents and home prices are rising faster than my income,” said Kourosh Toumadje, a father of four who works as a production planner in a laboratory.

“To my family — this is home. But if Measure A is approved, I may eventually have no choice but to move my family from the only place we know,” said Toumadje.

Supporters of the measure say local government officials are unduly influenced by the building industry — which is adamantly opposed to Measure A — and the General Plan shouldn’t be altered.

“The purpose of Measure A, SOS Initiative, is to provide San Diego County residents with a stronger voice in how and where housing is built in the unincorporated county,” the campaign’s website reads. “This grassroots initiative simply requires voter approval of proposed changes to the County*s General Plan that would significantly increase residential density in fire- prone rural and semi-rural areas.”

However, opponents say votes would only be required on housing projects, not casinos, hotels, stores, warehouses or factories, so a different kind of development would continue in rural areas.

— From Staff and Wire Reports

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Chris Jennewein

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