What is the Beaumont Balanced Growth Initiative?

What is the citizen’s balanced growth initiative all about?

Click Here for link to Official Ballot Title and Summary

The Beaumont Balanced Growth Initiative (BBGI) limits the number of building permits issued by the city for single family homes to 350 per year, of which 50 dwelling units will be reserved for single unit infill projects. The BBGI places no restrictions on permits for retail, commercial or industrial development.

The opponents of the citizen driven initiative claim that managing our future growth will have a devastating effect on our economic development and the sales tax income we need for a sustainable economy. Considering the current situation in the San Gorgonio Pass, this argument has no basis in fact. The fact is that the citizens’ initiative will have no effect on currently planned home developments and very little effect, if any, on the economic development growth in the Pass during the next 10-15 years.

Section 2.G of The Balanced Growth Initiative, if passed by the voters, amends the Beaumont Municipal Code (BMC) section 17.11.060 paragraphs d and e as follows:

d)         The number of development project dwelling unit permits per year shall be calculated as follows: 300 less the sum of dwelling unit building permits issued that are exempt from this provision due to vested rights. Applications for dwelling unit permits must be submitted prior to January 31 of each calendar year and will be evaluated for each project, and approved projects will be placed in a lottery pool for selection for issuance of building permits. Building permits will be issued by the City to those approved projects selected at random from the annual pool.

e)         Residential dwelling units included in approved development agreements establishing vested rights to develop and other vested development projects prior to January 1, 2017 are exempt from provisions of paragraphs c) and d) above.

What are vested rights?

From Wikipedia - In law, vesting is to give an immediately secured right of present or future deployment. One has a vested right to an asset that cannot be taken away by any third party, even though one may not yet possess the asset. When the right, interest, or title to the present or future possession of a legal estate can be transferred to any other party, it is termed a vested interest.

It was reported at the City’s workshop that there are 7,427 homes planned for Beaumont for which developers have vested rights (Click here to link to the workshop presentation). Staff reported there are 5 residential projects with development agreements (6,108 units), 2 projects that are entitled, without development agreements (1,019 units), and about 300 additional units vested in other infill projects. Staff estimated an average of 500 building permits will be issued in future years based on building permits issued for “New Single Family Homes” in recent years. The 7,427 homes are exempt from the BBGI and, if the average building permits is indeed 500 a year, it will take almost 15 years to complete the projects already with vested rights.

It was pointed out by one developer in the workshop audience that there are 3,500 homes planned for development in The City of Calimesa on the border with Beaumont and 4,500 homes are scheduled to be built in The City of Banning on Beaumont’s eastern border. This means more than 15,000 new homes will be built in the City of Beaumont or on its borders exempt from any Beaumont growth ordinance.

The average number of residents per homes in Beaumont is 3.2. This means before the BBGI has any significant effect on managing growth, there will be 48,000 more people in Beaumont or on the city limits. It would be interesting to know how this level of growth in the Pass Area trade zone would deter any retail or commercial development in Beaumont.

Even if the BBGI is passed by the voters, at the rate of growth estimated by the city, in 15 years  there will be more than 22,000 new residents in Beaumont and another 26,000 adjacent to the city limits. The City is already facing a monumental challenge, in a city lacking the infrastructure for its current 42,000 residents, to plan for and provide the infrastructure for a minimum of 48,000 new residents to our area. At the very least, BBGI will limit unvested developments in Beaumont from adding to the 7,400 vested homes and creating an even more impossible planning nightmare.

It is time for our community to decide what the future in Beaumont should look like. It is the citizens of Beaumont’s right to vote for or against a balanced growth future.