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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Measure F
Hillside Preservation
City of Belmont

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 6,192 / 73.4% Yes votes ...... 2,240 / 26.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 9:53am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (19/19)
Information shown below: Arguments |

"Shall an ordinance be adopted to protect and preserve hillside areas of Belmont by requiring voter approval of any future amendments to the zoning ordinances governing the HRO districts, or the General Plan land use designation HROP (which collectively constitute the City's Hillside Development Standards), if such amendments would allow increased development densities in hillside areas?"

Yes ________ No _________

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Arguments For Measure F Arguments Against Measure F
Voting "YES" will assure that you, a Belmont voter, can participate in crucial decisions affecting the future of the undeveloped and irreplaceable land in the Western Hills and San Juan Canyon areas.

Specifically, the passage of Measure F will require that any new subdivision request for more units than is legally allowed by the current zoning ordinance must be approved by the voters.

Belmont's open space areas are unique and valuable resources. Native plants and wildlife thrive in these dramatic landscapes, and they are a vital part of our city's character.

Measure F will affect two largely undeveloped areas: Western Hills (83 acres above Carlmont High School) and 173 acres of the San Juan Canyon.

Belmont's real estate values have reached historic highs. With a scarcity of land available for development, pressure to build in the city's remaining open spaces will increase dramatically. Portions of these areas are geologically unstable and subject to landslides. Hillside development must continue to be governed by the carefully drawn limits of our existing ordinances. Excessive development in these sensitive areas would further strain fire, police, and other city infrastructure services, as well as increase traffic congestion. With this initiative in place, any developer who requests more units from a subdivision than is currently allowed would also be required to pay for putting that request on the ballot. Measure F is similar to measures already adopted in Saratoga and Milpitas. Other cites are considering similar measures. The passage of this initiative will have no cost to the city or the tax payers. Measure F will not apply to existing homes or subdivisions outside the Western Hills or San Juan Canyon.

Please be a part of preserving Belmont's beautiful open space. Vote "YES" on Measure F. Thank You!

/s/ Coralin Feierbach, Belmont City County Member

/s/ Joan Dentler, Past President Belmont Heights Civic Improvement Association

/s/ Kenneth Parsons, chair, Belmont Planning commission

/s/ Bob Silva, Hastings Drive resident

/s/ Carol Gesell Rossi, President, San Juan Canyon Preservation Trust

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure F is a step in the wrong direction. It will make it harder to preserve the San Juan Canyon, not easier. Here's why: All the land in the Canyon is privately owned. The City's Outdoor Recreation Task Force looked for public funds to buy it and failed. The San Juan Canyon Preservation Trust tried to raise private money and failed. As a result the Canyon remains in limbo and will stay that way if Measure F passes. Instead of trying to divide Belmont let's work toward a win-win solution, one that engages the interests of all Belmont citizens as well as the landowners. A solution that allows construction of a few beautifully designed and carefully sited homes. Landowners will get some return on their property while the Canyon views, wildlife habitat, and hiking trails will be preserved. Imagine the Canyon with an easy trail accessible to seniors, a modest nature center for schoolchildren and access to Sugarloaf or Crystal Springs for those who want a challenging hike. We might even see horse stables again like we used to have at Ralston Ranch. We need to reach out in harmony to all interested parties. Measure F does just the opposite. It is confrontational and divisive and will make it harder to find a just and lasting solution. Join us in voting NO on measure F.

/s/ Warren C. Gibson former president, San Juan Canyon Preservation Trust

/s/ David Bauer Belmont City Councilman

/s/ Edward J. Rodriguez Past Belmont City Councilman

/s/ George A. Burges

Vote No on Measure F because it is unfair and divisive: it takes away our voice in city hall. When we set out as a community to solve our problems, we have always done so in a fair, open, and public manner.

But Measure F only favors individuals who can afford to pay for big, expensive initiative campaigns. By requiring that residents hold an expensive election for changes to the zoning ordinance, only the wealthiest canyon property owners who can afford the most expensive campaigns will be able to have their say.

Measure F gives them a way around the public process that we've always used to make decisions about zoning, land use and open space on the hillside.

Measure F is confrontational, unfair and extreme. Instead of working to find a solution that everybody can agree on, Measure F takes away the rights of the local property owners and property owners who can't afford to pay for an expensive election campaign and provides them with no alternative if they can't meet current zoning regulations.

Measure F is inflexible and shortsighted: doesn't account for the fact that our needs will change over time, and it does nothing to address the real problems that we have in our community like traffic, and the high cost of housing. Here in Belmont we have always prided ourselves on our ability to come together and find common winwin solutions to our problems. There is a better way to protect open space without taking away the property rights of canyon property owners and reducing complex land use decisions to cheap campaign sound bites.

Join Belmont homeowners, concerned citizens and residents of San Juan Canyon and vote No on Measure F.

The undersigned proponents of the primary argument against ballet measure F at the municipal election for the city of Belmont to be held on November 8, 2005, hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

Adele Della Santina

Warren C Gibson

Edward J Rodiguez

Dale Meyer

Authored by Warren Gibson

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opponents of Measure F state, "it takes away our voice in City Hall." On the contrary, this initiative allows YOU--the people of Belmont--to vote on any new subdivision which would increase the maximum allowed development density in the San Juan Canyon and the Western Hills. Without Measure F, developers and real estate profiteers would simply need the vote of any three City Council members to change the development rules to favor their projects and to increase density. Measure F would place the decision to change development rules DIRECTLY in the hands of the Belmont voters. Measure F predominantly affects undeveloped land, ONLY in the San Juan Canyon and the Western Hills above Carlmont High School. Measure F does NOT affect the ability of homeowners to develop their properties according to current City ordinances. Measure F would ONLY affect developments that seek HIGHER DENSITY than currently allowed. Higher density would result in more homes--impacting our City's infrastructure, traffic, and quality of life. Belmont residents have overwhelmingly indicated that preserving our remaining open space is very important to the quality of life that we enjoy. Measure F is not a property rights issue. It does not take away the voice of Belmont residents in City Hall. We believe that this measure is a compromise between the residents' desire for open space, and the landowners' desire to protect their property rights. Please join us in protecting the future of Belmont--and vote YES on Measure F.

/s/ Dave Warden Mayor, City of Belmont

/s/ George Metropulos Belmont Councilmember, Teacher, Former Belmont Mayor

/s/ Bill Dickenson Vice-Chair, Belmont Planning Commission

/s/ Judy King Belmont Parks and Recreation Commission Member

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Created: January 28, 2006 14:46 PST
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