Novato next in Line to Renew Urban Growth Boundary
The city of Novato, California is next in line to renew its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) before it expires at the end of 2017. With two SMART stations underway and Mt. Burdell rising on the edge of town, renewing the city’s UGB is critical. Greenbelt Alliance is now initiating discussions of a possible ballot measure with local partners and the Novato City Council to ensure this happens.
The voters of Novato passed Measure G to adopt a UGB by 70% in November 1997. The UGB was endorsed by the entire City Council, county supervisors representing Novato, Greenbelt Alliance, and Marin Conservation League. This voter-approved UGB expires November 4, 2017.
Extending the UGB with a vote of the people will maintain the strength and intention of the UGB. If the voters approve the UGB, then only a vote of the people can change it.
Back in 2014, a previous Novato City Council voted 4 – 1 to renew the UGB without voter approval. Renewing the UGB with a City Council vote alone opens the door to changes in policies and the boundary without full support of the voters.
Given the strong voter support for the UGB and continued development pressure in Marin County and the North Bay, Greenbelt Alliance is urging the current Novato City Council to review its position and renew the UGB with a vote of the people in November 2017.
Renewing via a vote of the people:
- Results in a UGB supported by a majority of the residents of the City.
- Takes the City Council out of the position of adopting the measure who would later be subject to receiving pressure to amend the policy.
Now that the city of Novato’s Draft General Plan is complete and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is underway, it is appropriate for the City Council to direct city staff to work with the community to renew the UGB with a voter-approved ordinance.
In Sonoma County, all nine cities have voter-approved UGBs. In 2016, the cities of Sebastopol and Cotati renewed UGBs with voter measures for 25 and 30 years, respectively. In the South Bay, the city of Gilroy adopted a new one. Thirty-eight cities across the Bay Area have voter-approved urban growth boundaries.
You can help!
Attend the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 12 to comment on the environmental review of the General Plan update.
For more information contact Regional Director Teri Shore.