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

YES

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

NO

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.

Updates

Developers should have to make their case to voters, not just to supervisors

Trusting yourself and your neighbors rather than politicians and developers is a good general rule. When it comes to deciding San Diego County’s future, it’s imperative.

Why won’t developers simply follow the General Plan? The answer is simple: to maximize private profit at the public’s expense. These sprawl developers buy up land that is zoned for agriculture or open space on the cheap and then ask the Board of Supervisors to change the General Plan to allow them to build lots of expensive houses in far-flung parts of the county.

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.”

In the News

Your say: Ballot box planning and the Save Our San Diego Countryside measure

We asked: With the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside initiative on the March 2020 ballot, do you think public votes should be held on all major housing developments or should elected leaders make such land-use decisions, and why?

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

As We Watch California Burn Yet Again It’s Time to Say Yes to ‘Save Our San Diego Countryside’

San Diego County has seen big money defeat similar efforts in the past, but now, as we watch California turn into an inferno once again, perhaps reason will prevail. It’s time we stop our history of insane development, save our countryside, protect the local environment, and not let moneyed interests make the future of our region any more perilous than it already is.

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

Organizations

League of Women Voters

Cleveland National Forest Foundation

The AFT Guild Local 1931 – American Federation of Teachers

Citizens Coordinate For Century 3

Local 30 – San Diego County Hotel and Food Service Workers’ Union

Sierra Club

San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action

Endangered Habitats League

Elected Officials & Individuals

As a 20 year member of the Board of Supervisors, I was intimately involved in the creation of our award-winning general plan which was designed to save taxpayer money, limit housing in very high fire severity zones and to protect some habitat while encouraging smart planning and land use principles. To see that plan repeatedly being undermined by sprawl developers and speculators who do not have the public’s best interests at heart, is very concerning for the future of our region.  This is why I support SOS. It encourages smarter development decisions without allowing special interests to change the plan that the public and other stakeholders spent over a decade and $18 million developing. Vote Yes on SOS.

Pam Slater-Price

Former San Diego County Board of Supervisor, Councilmember and Mayor

It is important that the County’s already approved smart growth plans be followed to create a community where open space is preserved and urban sprawl is prevented. The SOS initiative will ensure that our rural areas are protected and growth occurs in the right places — near transit and jobs. I am proud to endorse it.

Kristine Alessio

La Mesa City Councilmember

The Safeguard our San Diego Countryside initiative does a good job of preventing sprawl development, preserving our open spaces, and encouraging county leaders to stick to the general plan they spent millions to develop – a plan that was designed to encourage smart growth and housing affordability. If the SOS initiative is passed, the voters will get to decide whether large housing projects in the San Diego backcountry should be approved. Considering the growing risks of fire, the additional traffic, and the burdens on neighboring cities and schools, it’s not unreasonable to let the voters have a say.

Randy Walton

San Marcos City Councilmember

How You Can Help

Donations

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