We sent the following letter on Tuesday to the Sunnyvale City Council urging support for Measure A. They ultimately decided to take no position, not because they disagreed with it (mostly they support it), but because they felt it wasn't a city-level issue. As you can see from our letter, we disagree.
October 24, 2006Sunnyvale
Re: Sunnyvale General Plan Policies that support taking an official position endorsing Measure A, the Land Conservation Initiative Dear Members of the City Council; We understand that you have already heard a great deal about Measure A, the Land Conservation Initiative, enough to convince six council members to endorse it individually. Rather than repeat the many reasons why Measure A is a good idea, we wish to address the recommendation by City staff to not take a position on the Measure.
Staff does not make this recommendation based on whether Measure A is a good or bad idea, but rather on the assertion “Generally, staff only recommends a position on a ballot measure if there is an existing City policy on the issue or significant impact on the City.”
In fact, multiple General Plan policies address the issue, and protecting the City from Los Angeles-style sprawl is a significant beneficial impact on the City. A cursory review of Sunnyvale General Plan policies shows several relevant provisions:
Policy Goal R1: “PROTECT AND SUSTAIN A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE IN SUNNYVALE BY PARTICIPATING IN COORDINATED LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING IN THE REGION.”
Policy Goal R1 references specific goals and action statements that clearly apply to Measure A:
Policy R1.1 Advocate the City’s interests to regional agencies that make land use and transportation system decisions that affect Sunnyvale.
Policy R1.2 Support coordinated regional transportation system planning and improvements.
Policy R1.3 Promote integrated and coordinated local land use and transportation planning.
R1.3.1 Participate in intergovernmental activities related to regional and sub-regional land use and transportation planning in order to advance the City’s interests.
R1.3.2 Promote shorter commute trips and ease congestion by advocating that all communities provide housing and employment opportunities.
R1.3.3 Monitor significant land use and transportation decisions pending in other communities to ensure that Sunnyvale is not adversely affected.
Because Measure A stops sprawl that could adversely affect Sunnyvale’s interest in sound land use and effective transportation, the City’s policies require support.
Other City policies also apply:
Policy 3.1A.1c. Support legislation which would enhance the availability of adequate water from Sunnyvale's existing sources of supply.
Water conservation 3.1B.2d. Coordinate planning with local, state and federal agencies.
And policies on creek protection:
Surface Runoff Sub-Element
Goals and Policies
Protect Beneficial Uses of Creeks and South San Francisco Bay
Goal 3.4A. Assure the reasonable protection of beneficial uses of creeks and South San Francisco Bay, established in the Regional Board's Basin Plan, and protect environmentally sensitive areas.
Policy 3.4A.2 Comply with regulatory requirements and participate in processes which may result in modifications to regulatory requirements.
3.4A.2c. Review proposed changes in regulatory requirements and comment as appropriate.
Measure A protects water quality and water quantity.
For all these reasons, and the general beneficial impact Measure A will have on County land use that is crucial for keeping Sunnyvale part of an area that does not resemble Southern California, we urge the City to endorse Measure A.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County