This November, San Benito County voters will have a chance for long-term preservation of 2,700 acres that they previously stopped developers from destroying in 2020, and at the same time to protect the majority of the County’s 890,000 rural acres from unwanted sprawl development. Measure Q, a General Plan initiative amendment on the November 2022 ballot, will require developers to get voter approval before rezoning Agriculture, Rangeland, and Rural-designated lands to more intense levels of development. Please vote YES on Measure Q!
Helping to Protect Strada Verde and Juristac
In November 2020, San Benito County voters overwhelmingly rejected Measure N, the “Strada Verde” project that was a warehouse proposal disguised as high-tech jobs. The proposal would have developed 1,100 acres of a 2,700-acre parcel and formed the core of an eventual new city sprawling between Gilroy and Hollister. Voters saw through the proposal, with over 59% rejecting it. Green Foothills actively supported local environmentalists fighting who fought Measure N. Strada Verde developers are now trying to get San Benito’s planners and Supervisors to ignore the 2020 outcome and approve the warehouse development at the County Board level. Measure Q will stop that effort and prevent developers from overturning what the voters have decided.
Measure Q will also help protect the Juristac area, the most sacred site for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Part of Juristac is currently threatened by a proposed sand and gravel mine in southern Santa Clara County, but Juristac also extends into San Benito County, which is planning the development of the environmentally and culturally sensitive areas of Juristac along the Pajaro River and Highway 101. Measure Q would require that these destructive San Benito County proposals face voters before going into effect.
Measure Q Helps Protect the Rest of San Benito
San Benito County is as big as Santa Clara County but is still mostly rural. Measure Q is an enormous opportunity to preserve the open space environment and rural character of the land. Measure Q would give voters a say in protecting the vast majority of the County, focusing growth instead in already-developed, better-planned areas, as shown on this map:
Of the remaining areas that would not be protected, most are either already-protected parks, city lands not under County jurisdiction, and the remote Rangeland Management Area which is under no significant development threat. Measure Q responds reasonably to growth in that it does not stop development in cities and in a few other more developed areas of the County, while requiring voter approval to change land use patterns in pristine areas and areas most under threat of destructive sprawl.
Green Foothills Supports San Benito County Conservation
We’re proud to have been involved in San Benito in recent years, seeing the overlap between Santa Clara County and San Benito County in conservation and open space protection. As part of the fight against Measure N in 2020 and in support of Measure Q this year, Green Foothills staff have been working with local environmentalists and the public, talking to voters in their homes and at shopping malls. People are clearly ready to stop sprawl in their County, and this is their opportunity. San Benito voters, please vote YES on Measure Q!