The Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside Initiative would allow San Diego County residents a voice in preserving the vision of what the people of San Diego developed over 13 years and $18 million dollars of planning for the future and growth of the County.  The people of the County along with other environmental organizations, the Building Industry and County planning stakeholders forged this vision and it was implemented in 2011, in the form of a General Plan for San Diego County.  The initiative would require a majority vote of the people any time a large scale project seeks to amend the general plan and violate the integrity of San Diego’s long-term land use plans. 

This Initiative helps preserve the vision we all have of how San Diego should grow and protects the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life of County residents.

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Yes on the

Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside Initiative

The Plain Truth

Developers are misleading Voters
(statements made by Building Industry Association in 2/18/2018 UT Opinion Editorial)

“This Measure prevents Affordable Housing”


The Measure expressly exempts any Affordable Housing projects – including ones that are not presently designated in the current General Plan.


“The Measure is “Ballot Box Planning”


Actually, the measure prevents haphazard and dangerous projects by defending the General Plan which was specifically developed over 13 years (and after $18 million in taxpayer-funded studies) to ensure that San Diego grows in an efficient and sustainable way.  The General Plan is a comprehensive study (which is required by state law) of where the smartest and most efficient places to house San Diego County’s growing population while meeting the needs of all stakeholders.  The General Plan locates housing growth in areas where there is or there are funded plans to build adequate roads, sewers, schools, and other necessary infrastructure. The measure simply proposes that anytime a developer asks for an exception to the General Plan, that it be voted on by the taxpayers, who will be most impacted by these changes. 


“Only 5,000 units built in the Unincorporated County in the “past decade” – 500/year”


This is misleading at best because the figure includes years of a housing recession that started in 2008.  And the number is also incorrect.. According to San Diego Planning and Development Services, there will have been 6,835 units built in the past 10 years.  And, they are projecting another 1,123 units for FY 17/18.   The General Plan allows over 52,000 units to be built in the Unincorporated County without requiring general plan amednments.  The slowdown in the “past decade” was driven by the overall slowdown of the National and Local Economy, not anything else.  And housing permits being issued are growing every year and are higher than they’ve been since 2005. December showed the highest month in 13 years.  There is no need to amend the general plan because it provides for more than enough housing and we are seeing yearly increases in permits issued in both the unincorporated County and in the cities.  


“Building in San Diego will reduce the number of commuters from Temecula and reduce traffic on I-15 and other freeways”


There is simply no evidence to support this.  In fact, the traffic from far-flung projects in the San Diego backcountry is even more damaging because, in addition to the extensive commute traffic it generates (as these projects are far from job centers), it also generates significant additional localized traffic for shopping, retail, schooling and all the other kinds of local traffic a large project generates which is significant and damaging to the quality of life in San Diego County, not in Riverside. 


Furthermore,  additional traffic generated by San Diego County sprawl developments pay nothing to improve freeways and will move current rush hour I-15 gridlock 28 miles South from SR-76 in Fallbrook  to Pomerado Road in Rancho Bernardo (Newland Sierra 2017 Traffic Impact Study).  



Who is leading the Measure?

San Diegans for Managed Growth is a non-profit Corporation that supports affordable, sustainable housing for all San Diego County residents.

What lands does the Measure affect?

The Measure provide an additional check and balance on development in the Unincorporated County — not the Cities.


Who gets to vote on the Measure?

The registered voters of the entire County.  Yeah – it’s a little weird that City residents can weigh in on Unincorporated development, but not vice-versa.  It’s just the way it is.

What’s exempted from the Measure?

  • Affordable Housing
  • 5 units or less increase in density (family farms and estate splits)

How does the Measure help lower the cost of housing in San Diego County?

Building housing in the “Smart Growth” areas the General Plan identifies enables lower cost housing.

This is because roads, sewers, schools, and other infrastructure are either in place in these “Smart Growth” areas or there are future funded plans to provide infrastructure.

General Plan Amendments to build outside “Smart Growth” areas shift costs to County taxpayers.  For example, an independent Professional Engineer estimates that the Newland Sierra 2135 unit project off Deer Springs Road will create traffic congestion on I-15 and SR-78 that will take an additional $ 215 million of new taxpayer money to fix.

Developers cash in large speculative profits and taxpayers get left with the mess to fix.

Read the Iniative

In the News

Initiative Launched to Control Development

San Diegans for Managed Growth Launch Initiative Campaign

Why Initiative Helps Prevent Urban Sprawl

Group Launches Effort To Place ‘Safeguard Countryside’ Initiative On Ballot