WATSONVILLE — Watsonville voters will have the opportunity to determine the fate of 95 acres of agricultural land, currently being used to grow row crops, during a special election on June 4 as part of a controversial proposal to amend the city’s urban growth boundaries.
The special election will cost the city up to $80,265 to hold. It will allow voters to decide whether to amend the urban limit line set in place by voter-approved Measure U in 2002, opening up the working farmland, referred to as the Sakata-Kett and Greenfarms properties, to annexation and future commercial development.
The proposal — spearheaded by City Councilman Daniel Dodge last February and taken up by volunteers who collected more than 2,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot — has engendered heated debate over the nature of economic development in a city that has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and the economic recession.
Due to the success of the signature gathering effort, led by Julian Posadas, a former labor union organizer, the proposal was always going to go on the ballot. What was at issue at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was whether to press ahead for a special election in June, November or November 2014.
“What’s the rush?” Watsonville resident Bob Culbertson asked the City Council during public comments on Tuesday night, reminding those in attendance that if passed, annexation would have to be approved by LAFCO.
For the complete article see the 02-14-2013 issue.
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