Absolute Power

"In November you are being asked to vote simply to allow the city and the community to evaluate our concept - that?s it." (R. D. Peebles in a letter to the community, 8-10-06)

How true is this statement? If Proposition 90 and Measure L both pass on November's ballot, it is totally untrue. Here's how it could work: Both measures pass and Mr. Peebles submits a plan including 355 houses and some commercial development including a hotel. The City, along with other agencies such as the Coastal Commission, may determine that a lower density is appropriate, and reduce the housing component to, say, 155.

In passing Measure L, thereby rezoning the Quarry, we will have created a new regulation, which will fall squarely under Proposition 90's provisions. Mr. Peebles will have the newly created "right" to sue for "regulatory taking" of the "highest value" of his land, i.e., the original 355 houses. If he wins in court, the city would be obligated to pay the 200 houses' worth of difference in value! No municipality in its right mind would ever contest this in court with such risk in the balance; it will cave and say, "Build whatever you want."

My question to Pacificans is: Should any one person be given what amounts to absolute power? I say: Vote No on both Measure L and Proposition 90 to retain local control of our land use.

Lionel Emde

The above was printed as a letter to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune on October 4th, 2006, and is republished here with the author's permission.

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