Shasta County Freeze on Zoning in Churn Creek Bottom, Measure B (June 2012)

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An initiative to Freeze Zoning in Churn Creek Bottom, Measure B is on the June 5, 2012 ballot in Shasta County.[1]

If Measure B is approved, it will freeze the general plan in the Churn Creek Bottom until 2036. This will prevent any commercial development in the area until then.[2]

In August 2011, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead for a commercial development on Knighton Road in Churn Creek Bottom.[3] The motivation to put the zoning freeze on the June 5, 2012 ballot sprang from that decision.[1] That August 11 decision also inspired its opponents to put Measure A on the June 5, 2012 ballot.

Proposed development

The proposed shopping center development would go on what is currently a 92-acre empty lot and would be known as "Knighton and Churn Creek Commons".[3]

It would be built by the Hawkins Cos., LLC, a development company based in Boise, Idaho. Jeff Hess, the development company's chief operating officer, indicated that they would spend $130 million on the development and that the development would generate $52 million annually in wages because of the roughly 1,600 permanent jobs it would create.[3] If the development goes ahead, the county is expected to receive about $1.36 million each year from it, in addition to $715,000 for the county's public safety fund.[3]

Hess said, "Where you have a significant amount of unemployment, people are going to be happy to have a job." The unemployment rate in Shasta County stands at close to 14%.[3]

Support

Measure B is supported by the Churn Creek Bottom Homeowners and Friends Association. Rod Evans is a spokesperson for this group. He says, "What we knew is that even if Measure A prevails (allowing Hawkins to proceed), it won't be very long until another developer is knocking on the door and wants to do the same thing. We looked at what could give the community some breathing room without this development pressure."

Randy Carter also supports Measure B. He says, "We're hoping for it to take the pressure off our leaders who have to make the decision that they've recently made."

Marsha Burch, lawyer in Grass Valley, helped write Measure B.[4]

Opposition

Opponents of Measure B include Doug Juenke. He is the chairman of the "No on Measure B" committee, as well as being the president of the Shasta Association of Realtors. He says, "This is a pure, flat-out assault on private property rights. It's just not American that we are going to suffer no consequences one way or another and we get to tell another group of people what they get to do with their property."

Another opponent is Bob Moore. He owns Moore's Flour Mill. He owns 75 acres in Churn Creek Bottom. He wants to build a water-powered mill on that property that would grind flour and also be a tourist attraction. He would not be able to do this is Measure B is approved. He says, "My position is that I woke up one morning to discover that my neighbors put my farm on the ballot for the people of Shasta County to vote on what I can or can't do with it, and I think that is a very strong property rights issue." He also says, "[Measure B is] being represented as being supportive of agriculture, but it really is only supportive of a really narrow interpretation of agriculture."

Reporting on a debate over Measures A and B held at the Destiny Fellowship church in Redding on April 30, a local newspaper wrote, "private property rights punctuated much of the night, with audience members applauding those who called it un-American."[4]

Path to the ballot

The initiative is on the ballot because county residents who want zoning frozen in Churn Creek Bottom collected over 11,000 signatures on petitions to force a vote on the development.[1]

The same residents also qualified a veto referendum, the Referendum on Knighton Road Development in Churn Creek Bottom, for the June 5, 2012 ballot.

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