Guest Opinion: No on Measure W
Don’t break our voter-approved urban growth boundary
Doug Burr, Phil O’Loane, and Sally Scholl, co-chairs No on W Campaign
As San Ramon residents, we know Measure W is the wrong direction for San Ramon. The Contra Costa Times agrees, calling it “horrible policy” and urges voters to reject it. Conservation groups like Save Mount Diablo, Sierra Club and Greenbelt Alliance oppose it too. We hope you’ll join us by voting NO.
Disguised as a simple General Plan Amendment to protect ridgelines and creeks, Measure W breaks our voter-approved urban growth boundary to pave the way for major development on agricultural and open space lands at the edge of town. It allows construction on 1,624 acres of the Tassajara Valley and adds 608 acres in the hills west of Highway 680, increasing the size of our city by about 19 percent. Developers will be given the green light on the first major step in building up to 4,200 houses in the Tassajara Valley and more in our Western Hills. After that, they won’t need another ballot vote. Measure W also adds 1,500 more houses and 3.4 million square feet of commercial uses (eight Transamerica Pyramids) near Interstate 680 – before the city has even analyzed the impacts.
While the politicians won’t tell us the full story, the consequences will clearly be devastating.
Thousands more houses will stretch our water supply, especially in drought years, and rates will keep increasing. It will worsen the overcrowding crisis in our schools, diverting more students westward and hurting the quality of education. Thousands more cars will jam our already-congested roads. Up to 20,000 new residents in the Tassajara Valley alone will significantly strain police and fire protection services. And it will further decrease property values. Keep in mind, there are already 4,600 units approved but not built in San Ramon and Dougherty Valley, exceeding San Ramon’s needs for 20 years.
In economically uncertain times, Measure W is not a risk we can afford to take.
The only ones who benefit are out-of-town developers who will make millions of dollars and politicians who receive developer campaign donations. In fact, over 70 percent of the Tassajara Valley affected by Measure W is owned by major developers. These same land speculators proposed thousands of houses in the valley in the 1990s. That’s why we’ve voted three times in the last 11 years to protect these lands with growth boundaries – drawing a clear line beyond which urban development isn’t allowed. And these boundaries have worked; since the first lines were drawn 20 years ago, no major developments have been approved in the “off limits” areas.
So don’t be fooled by politicians claiming that Measure W is simply about “planning our future” and “taking control of land” to protect it from development. Expanding our voter-approved Urban Growth Boundary breaks our open space protections and paves the way for building thousands of houses. Measure W must be defeated to preserve our quality of life and protect our ridgelines and open spaces.
We’re San Ramon Residents Opposed to Measure W. Please join us in voting NO. Contact us at www.NoOnMeasureW.org.