Dear Editor:

Does anyone remember the old sarcastic phrase, “Don’t do me any favors?” It usually comes out when someone offers some unsolicited advice or help that is not only unwanted, but unneeded as well.

What I am talking about is the recently unveiled San Benito County Growth Control Initiative. The backers of this proposal are pushing this initiative as a way to protect agriculture in San Benito County.

At first glance, that sounds wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to protect our top-rated industry and our open space?


This initiative is nothing more than a land-grab that ties the hands of the very people they say they are trying to help.

When you read the proposal, you will see page after page of restrictions on what you can and can’t do with your private property. This is all under the pretext of preserving our agriculture and our rural beauty.

There are two major problems that I see: 1, most of the proposed restrictions are already covered by county code, and 2, by changing the zoning designations to larger acreages, you are limiting the flexibility farmers and ranchers need to stay in business and maintain their open space.

Most agriculturists need to finance their operations by using the value of their property as collateral. By changing the zoning, you reduce farmers borrowing ability tremendously. In addition you impact his ability to pass it on to his heirs and keep the property in production ag.

In simple terms, if the zoning acreages are increased, the initiative will reduce the value of property without paying the landowner for that reduction.

I don’t know one person (rural or urban) who likes the population explosion we have had over the last several years. The San Benito County Farm Bureau agrees that something needs to be done to manage the future growth responsibly and intelligently. This land-grab proposal is not the answer.

We urge everyone to read the proposal thoroughly and objectively. We think you will see it for what it is.

At this time the Farm Bureau is working on some alternative solutions that solve the old problems, without creating new ones.

Tom Tobias

San Benito County Farm Bureau president

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