Judge Lets Voters Reject Merger of Bay Area Sprawl into Monterey County
LandWatch News Alert
Measure D upheld, Butterfly Village defeated!
Monterey County Superior Court Judge Robert O'Farrell upheld a June election in which voters soundly rejected the proposed Butterfly Village golf and housing subdivision north of Salinas. Butterfly Village was the first phase of the Rancho San Juan development, the largest and worst example of urban sprawl in Monterey County history.
LandWatch Monterey County, the Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition, and other community groups collected signatures to put Measure D on the ballot after supervisors approved Butterfly Village in November 2005. It was the second referendum that voters passed to stop the Rancho San Juan development.
In ruling against Butterfly Village developer HYH Corporation, Judge O'Farrell rejected HYH's request to set aside the June 5 referendum, in which voters turned down by a 64-36 percent margin approvals for the 1,147-home project.
O'Farrell rejected HYH's argument that opponents to development in Rancho San Juan would continue to mount referendums against any project in the area. "Special interest organizations do not vote. People vote," the judge said.
Chris Fitz, executive director of LandWatch, said, "This is a huge victory for democracy." He said the main issue wasn't the land-use process, but "the people's right to vote."