Oceanside CA— On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously voted to oppose the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiative, known as S.O.A.R.
The proposed initiative would require a vote of the people of Oceanside for any request requiring a zone change to open space or agricultural property. This initiative destabilizes farmers’ rights, creates devastating community impacts, and denigrates the City Council.
A group of Oceanside farmers opposed to this initiative have formed a coalition called Keep Farming in Oceanside to educate voters on the realities of this misguided ballot initiative. In addition to the chamber, other entities opposed to S.O.A.R. include: The San Diego County Farm Bureau, Beach House Winery and large-scale farms such as, Mellano & Co., and the Nagata Brothers.
According to the Keep Farming in Oceanside coalition, the measure would:
- Destabilize farmers’ rights and threaten agricultural lands by blocking farmers’ ability to finance improvements and remain competitive.
- Prohibits construction of new processing and packaging facilities needed for continued agricultural operations without a citywide vote.
- Restricts necessary infrastructure improvements such as the construction of roads, utilities and other public facilities.
- Places a moratorium on existing general plan and zoning designations until 2038, and requires costly citywide elections for even minor changes.
“The Chamber recognizes that Oceanside residents have elected a city council that deserves the opportunity to do their job,” said Scott Ashton, CEO of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. “There are already strategic land use processes in place, and S.O.A.R. aims to fix a problem that is not broken.”