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Opinion: Yes to Measure K

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Opinion: Yes to Measure K
Protect Open Space and Farm Lands from Sprawl

By Teri Shore, Greenbelt Alliance

Greenbelt Alliance is urging a yes vote on Measure K to renew voter protections for the open space and farm lands surrounding Sonoma County’s towns and cities for another 20 years.  Officially titled the Community Separator Protection Ordinance, Measure K will protect a total of 53,576 acres of open space and farm lands from subdivision and sprawl. 

Measure K preserves agriculture and the viability of family farms as well as waterways, drinking water, groundwater and recharge areas, wildlife corridors, hillsides, and woodlands. By protecting natural lands, it also offers clean air, water, and climate resiliency.

Measure K costs taxpayers nothing to keep our county beautiful and requires only a simple majority to pass. 

Voters in our nine cities will benefit from voting Yes on Measure K as it safeguards the county green buffers around the Urban Growth Boundaries. The city and county policies are working hand-in-hand to protect community identities and rural landscape of Sonoma County for the long term.

Community separators are zoning overlays contained in the county General Plan and zoning code that essentially maintain existing zoning. Landowners’ rights are preserved and all agricultural operations are allowed per zoning and use permit.

Measure K is endorsed by a growing list of elected officials, community leaders, conservation groups, farmers, housing advocates, developers and businesses that are listed at KeepCommunitySeparators.com. A diverse group signed the argument in favor of Measure K for the voters’ pamphlet: Greenbelt Alliance, Sonoma County Conservation Action, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Katie Jackson of Jackson Family Wines, and Mike Wright of Wright Contracting. No opposition argument was filed. 

The total acreage is nearly triple the acreage designated in the original eight community separators. The maps including the new areas approved by the board of supervisors on August 2 will be included in the voter pamphlet. 

If Measure K doesn’t pass, all the community separators remain in place in the General Plan. However, it would open the door to inappropriate development such as shopping malls, resort hotels and sprawl with a simple majority vote of the supervisors.

Urban Growth Boundaries combined with Community Separators form the backbone of city-centered growth policies in Sonoma County. It has enabled our county to hold back sprawl and prevented us from making the mistakes made in other parts of the Bay Area.

Measure K is one of the most important greenbelt policy measures in Sonoma County in decades.

Please vote yes and endorse Measure K and contribute to the Yes on Measure K campaign keepcommunityseparators.com  Stay up to date at https://www.facebook.com/communityseparators/

Join us for the Celebrate the Community Separators fundraiser at 2 pm on Sunday, Oct. 2, at the White Barn in Sonoma Valley and pick up a yard sign!  Sign up here: http://www.keepcommunityseparators.com/events/

The Yes on Measure K campaign is seeking more volunteers to get endorsements, table at public events, and donate to the community separator campaign ballot measure.

Walk with Yes on Measure K and North Bay Organizing Project on Saturday, October 8 from 9:30 a.m. in Santa Rosa neighborhoods to encourage voters to go to the polls! Or if you can’t make that, there other times and dates for environmentalists to walk with social justice advocates before the election!