By Nona T. Barker and Richard W. Halsey
Photo: 2007 firestorms in San Diego County, courtesy of La Mesa Fire Dept.
January 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As we watch Australia burn, many Californians remember the fear they felt as fires raged near their homes in recent years. Fires are a fact of life in much of California, but there are steps we can take to reduce the damage to people, property and our regional economy. One important commonsense step is to avoid building new houses in areas at the highest risk of burning.
Unfortunately, the urge to maximize profits seems to outweigh common sense for many big developers. Time and again, developers have requested amendments to the county’s General Plan to build massive sprawl housing projects in fire-prone areas of San Diego County. Our General Plan is a guide to sustainable growth in San Diego County. Despite the 13 years, millions of dollars, and widespread public input and support that went into developing the plan, our Board of Supervisors has shown time and again that it is inclined to support sprawl developments in our backcountry.
Measure A would put a stop to this short-sighted behavior. Under Measure A, voters get a direct voice in deciding whether large proposed housing developments that would increase zoned residential density in fire-prone rural and semi-rural areas can be built.