Mendocino Crossings Initiative, Measure A (November 2009)
If Measure A had been approved, it would have amended the Mendocino County General Plan and Inland Zoning Code and enacted the "Mendocino Crossings Mixed-Use Masonite Specific Plan" (MCMUMSP). Ultimately, this would have allowed development of homes, shops and offices on the targeted site. The proposed development was known as Mendocino Crossings.
The MCMUMSP would have modified the existing land use designation of the 76-acre former Masonite site in rural Mendocino from Industrial to "Mixed-Use Specific Plan." The Masonite site is bounded on the west by North State Street, on the south by State Highway 101, on the east by the Northwest Pacific Railroad tracks, and on the north by Masonite Road. In 2009, the site was designated in the county's General Plan as Industrial, with its zoning set at I-1 (Limited Industrial) and I-2 (General Industrial) for industrial use.
The "Mendocino County Tomorrow Initiative" would have modified the site's zoning and designation to allow for development of up to 800,000 square feet of building area, 150 residential units and a variety of uses including light industrial, retail, commercial, residential, office, hotel, entertainment, educational, public facilities, utility installations, parking lots and structures, and open space.
- These final, certified, results are from the Mendocino County elections office.
- Developers Diversified Realty, based in Ohio, was the primary sponsor of the initiative. They hired Arno Political Consultants to collect the signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. Developers Diversified spent $917,375 on their losing campaign.
- Through mid-October, Developers Diversified Realty and Texas developer David Berndt had spent $724,600 on their campaign to urge a "yes" vote on Measure A. This amount is approximately 10 times more than opponents of the measure spent.
Arguments made by supporters of Measure A included:
- The development would give the county an economic boost in this time of economic stagnation.
- The development would provide jobs, alleviating the county's unemployment situation.
Opponents of Measure A organized into a group called "Save Our Local Economy." This group spent $107,135 on their successful campaign.
Arguments made against Measure A included:
- Any jobs created by the development will be low-paying retail jobs.
- The project has not gone through the county's planning process.
- "The 80-acre shopping center would turn Ukiah into an economic ghost town and undermine decision making by elected officials."
- The editorial board of the Press-Democrat urged its reader to vote "no" on Measure A. They said, "Mendocino County needs more jobs. And given the reports about how many local dollars are spent at Sonoma County stores, including Costco, it also needs a broader retail base. But it doesn’t need these things at the cost of abandoning the local planning process, giving up hope of seeing an industrial use at the former Masonite plant and giving the green light on such a large, ill-defined project."
- Cliff Paulin called the proposed development the "Masonite Monster Mall." He said the proposed development is a model "that promotes suburban sprawl: a development outside the city limits and urban core of Ukiah that requires conversion of valuable industrial land into an island of retail in a sea of parking lots. This is a model that undermines local business, brings low wage service sector jobs, puts strain on city and county resources, brings increased traffic, and causes further homogenization of the unique character of our county."
- The City Council of Ukiah voted 5-0 against Measure A in June 2009. Council member Mari Rodin said, "I think this is bad for the city. I think this is bad for the county."
The question on the ballot:
|Measure A: "Shall the ordinance titled an initiative to enact a general plan and zoning code amendment, and mixed-use specific plan for the former site of the masonite facility be approved? Yes or No."|
Path to the ballot
Supporters of the initiative circulated petitions to qualify it for the ballot.
- Press Democrat, "Mendocino's ballot measure fails", November 4, 2009
- Ukiah Daily Journal, "Creative Workshop's phone number listed on Measure A flier in error", August 16, 2009
- Report to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on the Tomorrow Initiative
- Ukiah Daily Journal, "5-month campaign ahead on DDR initiative", June 11, 2009
- Press Democrat, "Record $1 million spent on Mendocino fight over big-box development", February 1, 2010
- Press Democrat, "Developers pour money into Mendocino County ballot measure", October 28, 2009
- Press Democrat", "Big choice in Mendocino", October 13, 2009
- Press Democrat, "PD Editorial: No on A", October 19, 2009
- Ukiah Community Blog, "The Mall To Nowhere", March 16, 2009
- Press Democrat, "Ukiah council takes stand against development ballot measure"