Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#46 / J

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am proud of Measure J, as enacted by the voters of Santa Cruz County in June, 1978. No other county in the state has anything quite like it. If you don't know the "story" of Measure J, you can read a contemporary account by clicking the link.

Speaking of "urbanism," Measure J has this to say:
Distinguish "Urban" and "Rural" Areas. It shall be the policy of Santa Cruz County to preserve a distinction between areas in the county which are "urban", and areas which are "rural." Divisions of land in rural areas shall be discouraged, and new residential developments shall be encouraged to locate in urban areas.

Urban Area Protection. It shall be the policy of Santa Cruz County to insure that new development in the unincorporated "urban" areas does not proceed without the provision of adequate services which will enhance the quality of life for current and future residents of these urban areas; the County Capital Improvement Plan shall reflect this commitment.
In a lot of ways, the enactment of this 1978 growth management measure anticipated what has later been called the "Smart Growth" movement. And it certainly changed history in Santa Cruz County.

By the way, Governor Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research published a contemporaneous report, in February 1978, which became the official State Environmental Goals and Policy Report. It was called An Urban Strategy For California. Measure J pretty much carries out its recommendations.

Let's hope the Governor can get this strategy accomplished statewide, this time around. There has been a lot of sprawl in California since 1978 (though not that much in Santa Cruz County)!

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