Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside

Good for Transparency.
Good for Affordable Housing.

The SOS Initiative

Promotes Affordable Homes for Everyone

Stops Backroom Political Deals

Gives a Voice to the People

Prevents Sprawl Development

SOS encourages developers to follow San Diego County’s long-term growth plans instead of convincing politicians to let them skirt the rules to build sprawl housing developments in the wrong places.

The Purpose of SOS

The purpose of the SOS Initiative is to provide San Diego County residents with a stronger voice in how and where housing is built in the unincorporated county. 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.

What Your Vote Means on March 3rd, 2020


A YES vote would put massive sprawl development to a vote of the people.


A NO vote would maintain business as usual and allow developers to re-write the County General Plan to benefit themselves.

Promotes Affordable Homes for Everyone

San Diego County’s General Plan allows for the construction of 60,000 new housing units with a broad range of affordability, including apartments and condos, townhouses, and single-family homes. These homes can be built now without any changes to the General Plan or public votes. Projects that provide genuine low income housing in accordance with state law are exempt from the initiative. New housing in areas close to roads and other infrastructure is less expensive to build and therefore more affordable. The SOS initiative does not ban any new housing that is now allowed in the General Plan.

Stops Backroom Political Deals

With just 3 votes, the Board of Supervisors can amend the General Plan to let developers, many of whom have supported the supervisors’ political campaigns, build large sprawl housing developments on rural and semi-rural land far from jobs, schools, and services. These General Plan Amendments (GPAs) increase traffic and fire risks for the public while driving up profits for developers. SOS would bring transparency and oversight into the process by requiring developers to justify their amendments to the voters.

Gives a Voice to the People

The SOS Initiative gives people the right to vote on whether they want housing mega-developments in San Diego County’s backcountry, a decision now made by politicians and special interests who fund their campaigns. Large housing developments built in the wrong places threaten our regional economy, mobility, wildlife, farms, and public safety. The initiative supports sensible and orderly growth instead of allowing developers to maximize their profits at the public’s expense.

Prevents Sprawl Development

San Diego County’s General Plan concentrates new housing in areas where roads, police and fire, schools, and other public services are already available. These locations are easier to defend from wildfire and have a lower taxpayer burden because they don’t require the construction of new and wider roads, additional schools and fire stations, or expanded water and power lines. Large sprawl housing developments that require General Plan Amendments (GPAs) lack these benefits and increase the already significant fire danger in San Diego County’s backcountry. SOS gives voters an opportunity to say “no” to dense developments in these fire-prone areas by rejecting unwise GPAs.


Back Country Development Ballot Measure Draws Fire In San Diego

“California, for the past four or five days, is burning down,” said Susan Baldwin, of the group Yes on SOS. “And the kinds of projects that are threatened by the fires are these kinds of projects. So why when we have plenty of land to do infill development in the cities and plenty of land to do housing in the unincorporated area. Why would we put more people in danger by building more sprawl development.”

Press Release

The grassroots “Yes on SOS” campaign has launched its website in support of the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside ballot initiative, which will appear on the March 2020 ballot.

“Yes on SOS” would give voters power to prioritize sensible growth and affordable homes, increase transparency, reduce sprawl and stop back-room developer deals.

In the News

Voters could have final say over massive (and not so massive) backcountry developments

“When you put cities where there are no roads, where there isn’t fire service, there aren’t schools, the cost of the infrastructure is going to be borne by the general taxpayer,” said Mark Jackson, with the Yes on S.O.S. campaign.

Our Supporters

Vote YES on SOS!! This ballot initiative will ensure that housing is built where infrastructure already exists, and that San Diego County backcountry is developed and conserved according to our official Community Plans. Take back your power from mega over-developers who are chewing up the countryside with the help of County government. Vote!.

Lael Montgomery

Valley Center Design Review Chair 2003-2015, General Plan Update Subcommittee, 2003-2015

I am a strong supporter of the SOS initiative. We have an adopted county General Plan and we need to protect it. The addition of a public vote is necessary to stop developers from continually doing end-runs around our County General Plan. These plan amendments are undermining the sustainability of our region and it has to stop. The General Plan wisely planned housing growth away from high fire danger areas, whereas several of the proposed projects are fire traps all but ensuring tragedy for current and future residents with inadequate evacuation routes. Further, the County General Plan includes areas for 60-70,000 housing units in areas on or near transportation corridors, in village planning units where it makes sense. Developers should build housing in these locations, not in far-flung, sprawl land use patterns. SOS is a much needed check on speculator developers trying to game the system. It is time to give the public control over our future.

Laura Hunter

Escondido Neighbors United

How You Can Help


It takes significant funds to make an initiative come together and to get the word out to the county. Every dollar helps and we’ve made it quick and easy to donate online today.

Donate Here

Follow & Share on Facebook

It only takes a moment to follow us and share our updates on Facebook and can help reach thousands!  Click below to follow us now.

Follow on Facebook

Get Out and VOTE!

On March 3, 2020 get out to the polls and vote! Encourage your friends and family to join you.  Are you registered? If not click below and register today.

Register Now

Contact Us

13 + 11 =