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San Benito County votes “no” to new development along Highway 101

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KION

SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Andy Hsia-Coron wore a bright yellow "No on K" button proudly, Wednesday. The Aromas resident is credited with leading a group against development along Highway 101.

"Everybody sees this as a turning point in the history of San Benito County," said Hsia-Coron.

Hsia-Coron said voters' decision to turn down Measure K was the result of the first citizen's referendum in the San Benito County.

59% voted against the measure. 40% voted for the measure.

"We wanted to stop the zoning from going through. If the zoning had gone through, the county would have been in a very bad place. There would have been 300 acres zoned for both commercial and residential," said Hsia-Coron.

Those against Measure K argued that new development would increase traffic, deplete the water supply and take away from natural landscape.

Those in favor of Measure K saw it as an opportunity for growth.

San Benito County Supervisor in the 2nd district, Anthony Botelho, said new development would provide additional funds for improvement projects without taking away from their own backyard.

"I thought it was a unique opportunity for San Benito County to promote all of the county along the 101 corridor. A little bit of commercial business to impact revenue that would help us provide better governmental series to our citizens. It was a win-win opportunity," said Botelho.

Botelho said San Benito County is the 3rd lowest property tax recipient in California. For that reason, Botelho said the area struggles to provide what some see as necessary for growing communities. "Our level of services reflect that. We addressed it with a sales tax, but if you have no sales you can't fix roads," said Botelho.

Botelho said there is still hope for future development. He said the county will be accepting applications for generic commercial zoning, which is included in the 2015 General Plan.

"The Betabel Road property owner is probably going to submit a C-1. It'll probably be before the board of supervisors on March 24th. We'll see what the board decides to do," said Botelho.

The group against development said they are not going to stop their efforts either. They plan to gather signatures on two slow growth initiatives for the county and City of Hollister. The initiative hopes to eliminate most, if not all, 16 nodes open for development.

Elections / News / Top Stories

Megan Meier

Megan Meier is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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