A grassroots ballot initiative has made its way to the county as a citizens groups aims to strengthen voter rights on future development.
Save Open Space Danville's preservation initiative aims to end the sunset clause Measure S -- which requires a resident vote on requested land use designation changes to the town's General Plan and prevent zoning that organizers feel is wrong for agricultural or open space land.
The petition, which has been making rounds in Danville since October 2012, was submitted to the town clerk on April 12 with nearly 4,200 signatures approximately 1,500 more supporters than mandated. The preservation initiative will now be verified by the county elections office before being considered for a special election.
"We are very confident that we were able to exceed the 2,726 signatures needed for the general election," SOS stated on its website.
The preservation initiative removes the 2020 expiration date on Measure S and solidifies Danville resident's right to vote on whether to allow clustered residential development on open space land designated for agricultural use. Danville's recently adopted 2030 General Plan update retains the 2010 General Plan definition of agriculture and incorporates the "full language of Measure S as a part of the Draft 2030 Plan."
The initiative also calls for lands with expired Williamson Act contracts ---- an agricultural preservation act which expires after 10 years or whenever the landowner decides -- contracts to retain the one unit per 20 acres A-4 zoning designation. Prior to a Town Council vote on the 2030 Plan, Williamson land out of contract could be developed with one house per five acre (A-2) zoning.
The county registrar has 30 days to determine whether the signatures are valid. State law requires signatures from 15 percent of voters to call a special election and from 10 percent to be put on the ballot for the next general election.
The petition will be put on a Town Council agenda following confirmation from the county, said Town Attorney Rob Ewing. Town staff will also complete a report on the potential impacts of the imitative, as well as whether to hold a special election or wait for the next general election.