The Coast News Group
Community Commentary Opinion

Opinion: Measure U – Money for nothing and your city for free

Measure U is an attempt to coerce the residents of Encinitas into gifting our most valuable public asset, our established zoning, to select landowners and developers to enable them to earn an instant risk-free windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars. In return we will get more traffic and infrastructure strain. What the Mayor and her fellow council members will get down the road has yet to be determined – but we have seen this kind of movie before.

Our zoning laws greatly limit what each of us can do with a piece of property. Individually, we all agree to these rules because they limit what others can do with their property and this prevents them from doing something that would negatively affect us. Thus, our city zoning largely determines what each parcel of land is currently worth; and as a whole it defines the character and layout of our city.  Literally billions of dollars in Encinitas land value is allocated across the established zonings – and this hidden value is a very tasty pie for special interests.

The Measure U lobbyists are asking us to create a massive exception to the rules to enable them to develop over 2,000 high-density, “up-zoned” housing units, which will allow up to 30 units per acre! Plus it will gut Prop A for good measure.

If Measure U passes, these “special” individuals will enjoy an instantaneous zero risk land value profit in the hundreds of millions of dollars (e.g., 2,000 units x $120,000 land profit/unit = $240,000,000). The total profits when the finished units are sold will be much higher and yet not one penny of this up-zone value will be paid out in fees as dividends to the public or to the City for public infrastructure projects.

Once Measure U passes, we the people will see these units built out ASAP and our local population increase significantly. However, if Measure U fails then developers will have to to buy and develop the land at market prices and under the current zoning rules. Thus they will move very slowly, block-by-block, because of the high costs and free market risks.  But if we socialize all the risks then all these units will be immediately built out because so much profit will be baked in from the Measure U land value increase.

Measure U is such a scam, that even Goldman Sachs would blush, but it is right there in black and white for you to vote on. Send a very clear message to interloping developers, Mayor Blakespear, and her comrades in the City council that our town is never ever going to be for sale by voting No on Measure U in overwhelming numbers. Make this one really hurt so the interloping special interests go away for good.

Charlie McDermott, Encinitas

1 comment

Don Lee October 31, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Thank you, well said!

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