In effect, under the Growth Management Ordinance, Measure A reduces the annual limit on residential building permits issued in any given year to 750 at most and 600 on average. Before Measure A, the annual limit was 1,500 permits per year and 1,200 on average.
“We need to remove our slow-growth initiative and change it to smart growth,” local resident Margaret Edwards said. “We need to think outside of the triangle. None of the big-league enterprises will come here — as a commercial real estate broker, I know. I see big-named enterprises pass Tracy by because of Measure A.”
Edwards suggested drawing up a new measure for residents to vote on.
“Until another ballot is presented and passed, nothing will change,” she said. “I am willing to put a ballot on the books to stop no growth and initiate smart growth.”
Celeste Garamendi, who helped author Measure A, said the slow-growth measure still has a place in Tracy.
“Measure A is one useful tool to assure we focus development where needed,” Garamendi said. “Smart growth helps control sprawling development. Look at nearby Livermore. It has an urban growth boundary and requirements of the number of housing permits issued. Livermore hasn’t been damaged, they’ve enhanced the city. It has a vibrant downtown that many are attracted to.”
Larry Gamino, the president of the West Side Pioneer Association, said the availability of natural resources controls Tracy’s growth.
“Tracy is the gateway city to the Central Valley, which makes it ideal for housing,” Gamino said. “Back when I graduated from high school, in 1970, our population was only about 10,000 residents. When Heinz closed, that freed up that water usage for residential development. Tracy experienced an explosion of growth. The biggest factor to growth or non-growth is the water or lack of water.”
What are your thoughts: Have the economic dynamics of our town changed enough that we should consider a new ballot measure, or has Measure A saved our town from becoming another overpopulated city?
• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.