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Alameda County Board of Supervisors Vote to Place Amendments to Measure D on Ballot

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To Help Local Agriculture and Recreation, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Vote to Place Amendments to Measure D on November 2022 Ballot. Modest Changes to Existing Laws Would Expand Growth Opportunities for Agricultural, Wine, and Equestrian Facilities 

August 15th – Oakland, CA — In 2000, Alameda County voters approved the Save Agriculture and Open Space Lands Initiative (Measure D). Today, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to send a series of modest improvements to Measure D to the November 2022 ballot. The Board vote was three in favor, one abstention, and one absence. In response to public input, the measure would help the County’s agricultural, wine, and equestrian industries. If passed, the Measure D improvements would also expand opportunities for recreation and economic opportunity for areas under the East County Action Plan and the Castro Valley General Plan.  

A key element of the Measure D improvements is to expand, in a limited fashion, the size of buildings available to be constructed on land zoned for agriculture uses, including greenhouses, equestrian facilities, and wine production. The proposed changes would expand the “Floor-to-Area” ratio on selected lands across Eastern Alameda County and Castro Valley. This will enable expansions of wine-related activities and help the horse breeding industry compete regionally and beyond.  

“Since the passage of Measure D, we’ve continued to listen closely to the community to make sure we prioritize agriculture and open space. This Ballot Initiative is the product of extensive community input and will help residents and local businesses,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. 

The official Board action was to adopt an ordinance amending Measure D (November 2000) to increase the Floor Area Ratio allowed for Agricultural Buildings in Large Parcel Agriculture Designations and to allow additional square footage for covered Equestrian Arenas in Large Parcel Agriculture and Resource Management Designations, subject to voter approval. This was recommended to the Board by a unanimous vote of the County’s Planning Commission. If passed by voters this would amend the policies and standards of Measure D (November 2000) and thereby amend the current East County Area Plan and Castro Valley General Plan, as each was amended in response to the passage of Measure D.  

Key among those calling for these changes were winemakers in the South Livermore Valley. Should the initiative pass, winemakers look to expand visitor centers, tourist facilities, and even look to add new visitor accommodations. 

In addition, if passed, this will ease current limits on agricultural-related development for the equestrian industry (i.e., structures and facilities related to the commercial boarding, breeding, and training of horses). Based on an inventory conducted by the County in 2012, there were 64 existing horse-boarding facilities in the East County/Castro Valley area but that number has been declining due to a lack of appropriate facilities. With these proposed changes, this industry is set to expand its footprint and rebound. 

“This is a clear and modest step we can take to grow our county’s economic opportunities and make the best use of our agricultural lands,” added Miley. “Now it’s up to the voters.” 

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