SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The debate over commercial growth in San Benito County was a highly discussed topic over the last year. In September, the board of supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance rezoning parts of the county near Highway 101.
The county said allowing future building will improve the economy of San Benito County and still maintain control on just who can build.
“We can’t fix the roads. We can’t improve public safety, and we can’t have parks and quality of life unless we capture some revenue,” county supervisor Anthony Botelho said.
However, those opposed, launched a citizen’s referendum and gathered enough signatures to get the topic on the ballot creating Measure K.
“As far as we know, it's the first citizens referendum in San Benito County history,” Andy Hsia-Coron said.
Those residents say the future growth will lead to more traffic and take away from the beauty of the area.
“Heavy, heavy traffic and we don’t even have these things up. Can you image what it's going to be like in the future,” Demetrio Pruneda said.
Botelho said those opposed to Measure K are misrepresenting what the growth will really look like.
“It's not runaway growth. There’s no residential component to it. It’s about creating jobs business opportunities and much needed tax revenue that’s driving by us every day,” Botelho said.
The Native American community says all four zoning areas encroach on their sacred tribal land, too.
“It's time to slow up and time to stop approving these kinds of projects, because you’re just forcing more and more people out on the road,” Hsia-Coron said.