Novato Backs Strong Growth Boundary
On a unanimous 5 – 0 vote, the Novato City Council recently finalized the ballot measure to renew the city’s existing urban growth boundary for 25 years on the November 7, 2017 ballot.
Greenbelt Alliance, Marin Conservation League, and Sierra Club deliberated with Mayor Athas, councilmembers, and city staff late into the evening at the July 11 public hearing to fine-tune the ballot measure through a productive and positive exchange. The evening ended with a good result that we think the voters will strongly support.
An urban growth boundary (UGB) separates urban areas from the surrounding natural and agricultural lands. It puts a limit on how far out the city can expand. It stops sprawl and keeps open space intact. When adopted by the voters, no significant changes to the boundary are allowed without a vote of the people, with a few legal exceptions.
The Novato City Council put in stronger restrictions on the legal exceptions to its UGB to resolve concerns about the potential for unplanned growth on the edge of town raised by environmental advocates.
“I’ve always been incredibly supportive of the urban growth boundary,” said Mayor Denise Athas. “I consider it to be one of the true treasures of Novato.”
If passed by the voters in November, the renewed UGB will maintain Novato’s commitment to protecting open space and farmland, preventing sprawl, and encouraging walkable, bike-friendly neighborhoods near downtown and the SMART line until the end of 2042. (Novato is the only city with three SMART stations.)
Greenbelt Alliance and our allies will be launching a campaign soon to pass the newly fine-tuned UGB ballot measure in November. Watch for updates and contact Teri Shore if you’d like to jump in and help by: