December 10, 2016

Don’t let Supervisors horse around with Alameda County Growth Boundary

Some of the agricultural lands in North Livermore protected by  Measure D. Photo by Richard Rollins.

Some of the agricultural lands in North Livermore protected by Measure D. Photo by Richard Rollins.

Update (Nov. 20, 2012): the Supervisors’ consideration of the amendment to Measure D has been postponed till Tue., Jan. 8

A worrisome challenge threatens Alameda County Measure D, which sets the county’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

Written by the Sierra Club and passed overwhelmingly by county voters in November 2000, Measure D restricts development on rural land outside the UGB. These policies have successfully protected agricultural and open-space land for the past 12 years.

One of Measure D’s key restrictions limits the floor-area ratio, the ratio of total building square footage to the size of the parcel. Keeping development in scale with parcel size controls the environmental impacts of development.

At the behest of one landowner, however, on Jan. 8 (earlier version said Dec. 4), the county Board of Supervisors will consider an amendment to Measure D to double the allowable floor-area ratio for equestrian facilities. Under Measure D and California election law, such a change would require a vote of the electorate. Section 23 of Measure D states that Measure D’s provisions may be relaxed only by vote of the people, except for technical changes consistent with the initiative’s substance. Nonetheless, the Board is voting on making the change itself, without going to the voters.

If the Board feels able to openly disregard an explicit provision of Measure D, it may feel emboldened to make other changes that weaken the hard-won protections that have preserved the county’s open space for over 12 years.


We ask every Alameda County resident to contact your supervisor. Individual e-mail for each supervisor is available through You can write to any Supervisor at:

1221 Oak St.
Oakland, CA 94612

or phone them at:

  • Scott Haggerty–District 1: (925)551-6995 or (510) 795-2525 (Dublin, Livermore, most of Fremont, part of Sunol, and most of the unincorporated area of the Livermore-Amador Valley)
  • Richard Valle–District 2: (510)259-1097 (Hayward, Newark, Union City, the northern portion of Fremont, and part of Sunol)
  • Wilma Chan–District 3: (510)278-0367 (Alameda; San Leandro; Oakland’s Chinatown, San Antonio, Fruitvale, and Melrose areas; San Lorenzo; and part of Ashland)
  • Nate Miley–District 4: (510)272-6694,  (510)670-5717, (925)803-7959 (Pleasanton; Oakland’s lower-hills, south-hills, and Elmhurst areas; Castro Valley; Cherryland; Fairview; and most of Ashland)
  • Keith Carson–District 5: (510)272-6695. (Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, and Oakland’s west Oakland, north Oakland, and north-hills areas)

Express your strong opposition to the Board changing Measure D’s limit on floor-area ratio without voter approval.

For further information, or if you can attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on the afternoon of Tue., Dec. 4 Jan. 8, contact Dick Schneider at or (510)482-1553.

Dick Schneider


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