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Some CA cities require public approval of big construction projects

In California, state and municipal zoning regulations impact the size, type and location of construction projects in the state. Some places actually include public participation in the process.

For example, three Southern California cities give voters a say in approving new developments. Del Mar, Encinitas and Escondido all have such ordinances. The purpose of these rules largely is to prevent projects that residents would feel are too large or not in the spirit of the community.

Del Mar’s City Council passed Measure B in 1986. Any property owner and builder who proposes a new building of 11,500 square feet or more, or construction on a site of at least 25,000 square feet must pass through a special approval process. Voters and the City Council have the chance to review the proposal. If they do not approve the project, it cannot go forward in that form.

In that city, three projects have gone through Measure B. Two of them did so shortly after the measure passed. Both had to be scaled back in order to go forward. Then, in 2008, a proposal was approved under Measure B, but the project never began, apparently for financial reasons.

Malibu is currently considering a similar ordinance. If passed, Measure R would trigger a public review process for projects larger than 20,000 square feet. In addition, what stores could occupy new malls would be regulated, if more than 30 percent of the stores would be “chain” franchises.

These regulations could complicate construction projects in parts of California. But contractors, working with developers and owners, should still be able to find work in those cities.

Source: The Malibu Times, “How Similar Cities Function with Voters’ Say in Growth,” Matt Sanderson, Oct. 29, 2014

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