Opinion: RCU Initiative holds county accountable
Like a knave yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, those opposing the “Fix Highway 50 — Keep Us Rural” Initiative have hired telemarketers to sell county residents on the notion that the initiative “takes planning away from the county and gives it to the state.” It’s a cynical scare tactic. Don’t believe it. Those opposing the initiative have a lot to lose and will say anything to stop voters from approving it.
Read it for yourself. The Rural Communities United-sponsored initiative simply states: “If Caltrans determines that traffic on any Highway 50 road segment west of the city of Placerville has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service F (LOS F equals stop-and-go, gridlock) during weekday, peak-hour commute periods, then the county shall not approve single-family detached housing subdivisions of five or more parcels until cumulative Highway 50 traffic levels are improved and stay below LOS F.”
This initiative language does not “take planning authority away from the county and give it to the state.” It’s just the opposite: It gives residents and communities access to unbiased Caltrans real time data with which to assess true traffic conditions on Highway 50. Caltrans has the jurisdictional authority over Highway 50. It counts cars, clocks speeds and assesses gridlock with real-time data. The initiative only requires the county to use Caltrans’ unbiased Highway 50 traffic data in land-use planning.
Those opposing the initiative do not want you to know what Caltrans’ real-time data clearly reveals today: that Highway 50 commute traffic in El Dorado Hills has reached LOS F (stop-and-go, gridlock) levels. Nor do they want Caltrans data to be used as the trigger to throttle expansive residential growth. They want to be able to deny, manipulate, and even “cook” the data to justify the approval of more massive housing subdivisions. This is what the fight is all about.
While our current General Plan prohibits county supervisors from approving more large housing subdivisions when traffic reaches LOS F on Highway 50, or any other county roadway, it fails to prescribe the source, timeliness or accuracy of traffic data, leaving room for the numbers to be cooked. The initiative’s language will end this dishonest game.
And before they can send their knaves to pitch the argument that the initiative is anti-growth, be assured that this not true either. The county has already approved the building of 16,000 new homes, half of which will be built in EDH. Further, small developments will be unaffected as well.
Sign the RCU petitions now being circulated to get the “Fix Highway 50 — Keep Us Rural” Initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot. With voter approval, reflecting the will of El Dorado County residents, it will stop large developments like Dixon Ranch (600 homes), Marble Valley-Lime Rock Valley (4,000 homes), Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan (1,100 homes) and San Stino (1,000 homes). And it will stop another 17,000 yet on developer drawing boards.
Your signature and support is needed to get this on the ballot. For more information go to the RCU Website at ruralcommunitiesunited.com.
El Dorado Hills