Archive » May 1, 2008
By India Allen, Staff Writre
Buellton residents to cap city’s growth?
An initiative to limit the growth of Buellton has collected enough signatures to qualify it for inclusion in November’s general election.
Buellton Is Our Town has gotten all of the signatures it needs — plus some — to place its Growth Limit Initiative on the November 4 ballot.
BIOT collected 600 signatures, more than twice the number the group predicts that it needs, during its signature drive April 26 and 27. The drive took place in front of the Buellton Albertsons, and teams of initiative proponents spent eight hours each day collecting signatures and informing Buellton residents about the initiative.
Judi Stauffer, a member of Buellton Is Our Town’s steering committee, called the initiative significant for Buellton as well as other small, agriculture-based communities.
She said that the initiative would ensure that the community has a say in the city’s growth.
“The decision should be in the hands of the community, which would reduce the reliance on five members of the city council,” she said.
If passed, the initiative would change the city’s General Plan by requiring voter approval before the city could expand or develop additional sewer and water services beyond the its current limits. The General Plan governs land use, including zoning and future development. The initiative would be effective until Dec. 31, 2025 but could be renewed by voters.
Currently, Buellton uses its sphere of influence to govern the boundaries of its city limits. Last year the city proposed to further study its sphere of influence, but the city council voted 3-2 in July 2007 to discontinue the study.
Proponents of the initiative argue that the measure would “discourage urban sprawl” and promote a healthy city that grows responsibly.
Linda Reid, deputy city clerk for Buellton, said she wouldn’t have the official figure of how many signatures BIOT would need to place the initiative on the ballot, but Stauffer predicted it would be about 10 percent of the city’s 2,391 registered voters or approximately 230-250 signatures.
Reid said she first has to receive a Notice of Publication of the Ballot Title and Summary from a general circulation newspaper before the exact figure could be determined. She added that she expected to receive the notice by May 2 and would e-mail it to the Santa Barbara Elections Office, which would determine the official figure.
Because the group collected 600 signatures over the weekend, Stauffer said the group is not planning to hold additional drives.
The signature drive follows the group’s inception last year, which was the result of Buellton residents opposing the city’s proposition to study the Sphere of Influence, an action the group feared would result in Buellton annexing county property and expanding the city’s boundary.