County of San Benito, County Clerk & Recorder

Measure N (2020) – San Benito County

San Benito County Voter Initiative
Ballot Question
Shall an initiative enacting the Strada Verde Specific Plan, and making County General Plan and Zoning Code Amendments for approximately 2,777 acres of agricultural land in northwest San Benito County, allowing various uses (including Research/Development, Automotive Testing/Tracks, Distribution, Offices, Business/Professional Services Commercial, Light Industrial, Hospitality, Retail, and Public/Private Services) and requiring the creation of a 209.5 acre Pajaro River Park and preservation of 561.7 acres exclusively for agriculture be adopted?
What your vote means?
A “Yes” vote is for the adoption of Measure N. A “No” vote is against the adoption of Measure N.
What will you find in this pamphlet?
County Counsel’s Impartial Analysis
County Auditor’s Impartial Analysis
Argument in Favor
Rebuttal to Argument in Favor
Argument Against
Rebuttal to Argument Against

The following is an impartial analysis of Measure N. If you desire a copy of the full text of the ordinance, please Contact the Department of Elections at:

website image voters/ elections-information/
email image
phone image 831-636-4017 / 877-777-4017
Measure N was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the voters. The measure consists of 139 pages of text and graphics that include amendments to the text and maps in the 2035 San Benito County General Plan, zoning provisions of the County Code and zoning map, and adoption of the 107-page Strada Verde Innovation Park Specific Plan (SVIP-SP).

Measure N amends the General Plan land use designations, maps, and zoning regulations for a 2,777-acre area of land, and adopts the SVIP-SP. The plan area is located in north San Benito County, southeast of the Pajaro River and southwest of the Union Pacific rail line and Highway 25.

If adopted, development would be governed by the specific plan. The plan area is currently designated in the General Plan for Agriculture, and mostly zoned Agricultural Productive, and some Rangeland.

Measure N creates “Innovation Center” and “Commercial” zoning (about 1,312 and 26 net acres respectively). A wide range of business, commercial, light industrial, and professional services uses are permitted in the Innovation Center zones. Visitor-serving, hospitality, medical, recreational, and personal service uses are also permitted uses in the Commercial zones. The project includes a 562-acre Agricultural zone and a 209-acre Pajaro River Park zone, and a 265-acre “Channel Greenway” zone, with remainder of the plan area for collector and internal streets, stormwater, wastewater treatment and landscaping.

The plan area includes prime farmland (546 acres), unique farmland (52 acres) and farmland of statewide importance (378 acres). The plan would retain as agricultural or open space 229 acres of prime farmland, 52 acres of unique farmland, and 43 acres of farmland of statewide importance, but could result in conversion of the remainder to non-agricultural uses.

In California voters have the right to adopt general plan and zoning ordinance amendments and specific plans through the initiative process without the notice, consultation, and public hearing process before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. General plan amendments adopted by initiative must still be internally consistent with the remainder of the general plan, including the hazard buffer Policy HS-6.9, which may be superseded as to this project by the finding in Paragraph 13 of Section 2 that the SVIP-SP next to the TriCal facility is in the public interest and consistent with the General Plan.

Environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is not required for land use initiatives. However, subsequent discretionary actions to implement the SVIP-SP, including subdivision tentative maps and development agreements, are subject to CEQA review. That review starts with the existing physical condition of the environment that would be affected by those discretionary approvals at the time the analysis is being conducted, without respect to uses that might be allowed by the voter-approved plan, but which have not yet occurred.

Measure N provides that for 20 years after it takes effect it may only be amended by the voters.

A “Yes” vote is for the adoption of Measure N. A “No” vote is against the adoption of Measure N.

s/ BARBARA THOMPSON, County Counsel  
Measure N, if adopted, will bring significantly more new revenues than expenditures to San Benito County General Fund, schools, and special districts.

The revenue and expenditure estimates are based primarily on the California Election Code 9111 study ordered by the County of San Benito Board of Supervisors and performed by Applied Development Economics, Incorporated. This statement assumes that the specific site plan as proposed in this initiative is constructed and completed by the year 2035.

Sales & Use Tax and Impact Fee Revenues:  During construction, the County of San Benito is estimated to receive $41,500,000 in impact fees and $9,900,000 in Use tax revenues; Aromas-San Juan Unified School District is estimated to receive $3,129,000 in impact fees for capital construction purposes; San Benito County Roads and Transportation Measure G will receive an estimated $6,600,000 in Use Taxes; and San Benito County Council of Governments is estimated to receive $1,650,000 in Use taxes. Once construction is completed, annual sales tax revenues will increase as follows: $5,190,000 for the County General Fund; $5,190,000 for the Transportation Fund until the Measure sunsets in the year 2049; and $1,300,000 for the San Benito County Council of Governments. Not estimated in the scope of this study but additional sales tax revenue generated include 1991 and 2011 realignment revenues used for social service programs and for public safety, respectively.

Property Tax Revenue:  Strada Verde’s estimated total assessed secured property value of $1.065 billion is based on 6.6 million square feet of specified land use; warehouse and office space being among the largest. Accordingly, the project would generate approximately $10,650,000 annually in secured property tax revenue as detailed in the table below:

San Benito County General Fund/Fire with Vehicle License Fee
State Fire Contract
San Benito County Water Conservation and Flood Control District
San Juan Bautista Cemetery District
San Benito County Hospital District
San Benito County Office of Education
Aromas-San Juan Unified School District
Gavilan Joint Community College District
Other Education Aid
Educational Relief Augmentation Fund
Source: ADE, Inc. Table 8

Based on a conservatively estimated unsecured (personal property) assessed value of $200,000,000 by the County Assessor, Strada Verde would bring in $2,000,000 annually in unsecured tax revenue distributed among various agencies, including the County, cities, schools and special districts.

Other Revenues: The table below provides detail on all revenue sources that the project is estimated to bring to the County of San Benito.

Secured Property Taxes (General Fund & Fire)
In-Lieu of Vehicle License Fee
Sales Tax (Bradley-Burns)
Public Safety Sales Tax (Proposition 172)
Transient Occupancy Tax
Business License Tax
Charges for Services
Franchise Fees
Use of Money & Property
Other Revenue
Source: ADE, Inc. Table 8

Estimated Expenditures: Strada Verde is expected to create needs for additional County services; projected expenditures include Sheriff ($820,000), General Administration ($776,000), Other Public Protection Unincorporated ($462,000), Public Ways and Facilities ($370,000), and Criminal Justice ($303,000), annually.

The following projections summarize the estimated annual effect on both revenues and expenditures of the Strada Verde Project with the County:

Total Revenues$10,727,000
Total Expenditures2,816,000
Net Surplus/ (Deficit)$7,911,000

s/ JOE PAUL GONZALEZ, County Clerk, Auditor & Recorder
     County of San Benito
Vote Yes on Measure N to bring more than 20,000 jobs to San Benito County, protect wildlife and water quality in the Pajaro River and provide over $18 million annually for essential services — all at no cost to taxpayers.

20,000+ Jobs for San Benito County
Our economy is sliding into a recession and thousands of our neighbors have lost their jobs. We need the job center created by Measure N to kickstart our economy and get San Benito County back to work. Measure N will support more than 18,000 good-paying construction related jobs and over 5,500 permanent, high-wage jobs.

Minimizing Traffic on Highway 25
The jobs center will connect directly to 101 at the Betabel interchange, minimizing jobs-center traffic on 25. Furthermore, passing Measure N will directly provide $18 million in private funds for transportation improvements. Providing jobs in the County will also cut down on commute times, allowing local residents to work closer to home.

$18 Million Annually for Fire Protection, Emergency Response, Schools, Road Repair and More With No New Taxes
Measure N will have enormous financial benefits for San Benito County. Experts estimate it will generate $18 million annually for vital local services — like County fire, Sheriff, schools and road repair — at no cost to local taxpayers.

Protecting Wildlife and Improving Water Quality in the Pajaro River
Measure N will create a 209-acre public park along the Pajaro River, providing public access to the riverfront for the first time. This will allow for increased protection of sensitive wildlife in the area and drastically improve water quality in the river. Measure N will also protect 562 acres for dedicated agricultural use.

Most importantly, Measure N’s benefits will be entirely privately-funded — nothing will rely on raising taxes or government subsidy.

That’s why business leaders, traffic experts, environmental advocates and the agricultural community all support Measure N. Let’s get San Benito County back to work.

s/ CURTIS J. HILL, Retired Sheriff,
San Benito County
s/ VINCE GREWOHL, President,
Hollister Firefighters Association Local 3395
s/ BOB TIFFANY, President,
San Benito County Business Council
s/ VALERIE J. EGLAND, Parks Advocate
s/ ROBERT J. RODRIGUEZ, II, President,
RJR Recycling
An out-of-town developer is spending big money to sell Strada Verde to voters. Do you believe their Big Promises? Let’s review the facts:

Dangerous Location
  • The expert hired by our County says Strada Verde should not be built right next to the TriCal pesticide plant.
  • An explosion or toxic chemical accident at TriCal could cause injury and deaths within a 3.5 mile radius.
Destroys Agriculture and Cultural Heritage
  • The developer claims he is “protecting” agricultural land – yet Measure N rezones and develops over 2,000 acres of agricultural lands.
  • The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Indian Canyon Nation are strongly opposed to Strada Verde.
NO Environmental Review of Damage to Air, Land, Water
  • The developer put Measure N on the ballot to skip Environmental Review and all studies of negative impacts. What is he hiding from us?
  • Many local environmental groups oppose Strada Verde (Green Foothills, Audubon Societies of Monterey & Santa Clara Valley, Preserve Our Rural Communities).
Few Locals Hired
  • Builders in San Benito County don’t hire locally. They hire cheaper construction workers from outside our county or state.
  • Most buildings planned for Strada Verde are warehouses for distribution centers which could easily hire workers from Gilroy.
More Traffic on Highways 101 and 25
  • Thousands of additional cars and trucks will gridlock our highways.
  • Traffic will get worse for commuters and local residents.
The Strada Verde developer makes Big Promises. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Concerned Citizens of San Benito County
Las Hermanas Organic Farm
s/ SAM RAMOS, Hollister Teacher, retireds/ SHIRLEY TREVINO, Community Activist
VOTE NO on MEASURE N… Strada Verde is a dangerous and misleading proposal from a rich developer trying to buy your vote… Don’t be fooled. Know the facts:

Vehicle Test Center is a Myth
  • No auto companies have publicly committed to locate at Strada Verde.
Strada Verde is Mostly Warehouses.
  • Most buildings planned are warehouses for “distribution and logistics businesses” (almost 6 million square feet).
  • Developer can also build truck stops, car washes, dry cleaners, salons and a Town Center.
More Traffic Congestion
  • Distribution centers at Strada Verde will create lots more truck traffic on Highways 101 and 25
  • Local residents will experience more traffic delays and frustration.
Hazardous Location
  • Strada Verde is located right next to TriCal, a pesticide company that produces dangerous, toxic chemicals.
  • An accident at TriCal could harm everyone within a 3.5 mile radius.
  • The County’s own consultant says Strada Verde “should not be approved.”
Destruction of Agriculture, Environment and Cultural Heritage
  • Strada Verde will destroy over 2,000 acres of farmland and ranchland.
  • It contains a crucial wildlife corridor and is located on land that’s culturally significant for the Amah Mutsun Tribe.
Voter Approval Gives Developer a Blank Check
  • Normally, the rezone of 2,777 acres requires an Environmental Review process with studies of impacts on traffic, public health, wildlife, etc. and public hearings.
  • Voter approval will let the developer skip Environmental Review and hide many negative impacts.
We Can Bring Jobs to Hollister!
  • There are 1,500 undeveloped acres zoned for industrial and commercial uses near Hollister.
  • Developing industries and businesses near Hollister is better for the city’s downtown economy.
  • Approving Strada Verde is bad land use policy and could harm Hollister’s economy.
VOTE NO on MEASURE N… Protect Our Community, Not Developer Profits.
s/ SAM FARR, Congressman, retireds/ MARY VAZQUEZ EDGE, Mayor of
San Juan Bautista
s/ MARGARET MORALES REBECCHI, Hollister Teacher, retired
s/ MARY ZANGER, Pharmacist, retired
Measure N’s opponents seem determined to kill local jobs and hurt San Benito County’s economy with their deceptive rhetoric.

Why are they trying to keep 20,000 jobs, 209 acres of parkland, and millions in funding for schools, fire, roads, and more out of San Benito County?

Don’t be fooled.

Strada Verde will not be built if the project is deemed unsafe. Period. If voters approve Measure N, the project will undergo a comprehensive environmental review and impact report — with public input and expert analysis — before a single shovel goes into the ground.

San Benito County desperately needs local jobs — Measure N delivers. Another opportunity like this won’t come along. Nothing will ever come close to the 18,000 construction related jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs — with no new housing — created by Measure N.

Strada Verde offers specific wildlife protections only possible through Measure N. The plan includes a 209-acre park along the Pajaro River, giving the public access to the riverfront for the first time. Creating the park will restore damaged habitat and protect wildlife.

Strada Verde will connect directly to 101 and minimize any new traffic on 25. Plus, Measure N provides $18 million for road repair and traffic improvements. Imagine how many long- distance commuters we can take off the road when there will be 20,000 jobs that much closer to home.

Strada Verde will provide $18 million for San Benito County’s schools, firefighters, Sheriff, roads, and more — every year. Don’t our opponents want to improve our schools, roads, and public safety?

If we listen to the naysayers, San Benito County’s economy will never recover. Vote Yes on N.
s/ MARGIE BARRIOS, Retired Trustee,
Hollister School District
s/ IRENE DAVIS, Chief Financial Officer,
s/ VINCE GREWOHL, President,
Hollister Firefighters Association Local 3395
Emergency Vehicle Specialist
s/ ROBERT J. RODRIGUEZ, II, President,
RJR Recycling


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