Urban Growth Boundary

Why an Urban Growth Boundary?

An Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is a border that defines the extent of potential growth for a city.  It can be established by a direct voter initiative.  Through their vote, citizens decide whether or not a city will expand its boundaries, annex and develop land.  Sixty three cities and counties have adopted UGBs, including nearby Buellton, Goleta and cities in Ventura County.

Solvang residents need a vote at the ballot box on any future annexation and development proposals. We believe the current annexation process allows too few people to make decisions for the rest of us. Without a UGB, any City Council can start the annexation process and only LAFCo, the annexed land owners and the Council get to vote.

An Urban Growth Boundary enables us to learn what the content of any proposed development or possible annexation is. Then we can vote for or against it at an election if it involves boundary expansion.

Q: Does a UGB allow for any exceptions?
A: Yes. Certain types of development, such as public schools, some municipal facilities and affordable housing do not require a citizens’ vote to adjust the UGB.

Q: Are Urban Growth Boundaries permanent?
A: No. The proposed UGB for Solvang would expire in 20 years. Voters could also change the UGB at any time at the ballot box.

Q: Would a UGB prevent Solvang from expanding its Sphere of Influence?
A: The city could still expand its sphere of influence, but Solvang could not annex lands from its Sphere of Influence into the City without a majority vote of its citizens.

Q: Why would a UGB be good for Solvang?
A: By promoting development within the UGB and discouraging unplanned growth in surrounding areas, the UGB:

  •  Encourages compact development and infill rather than sprawl
  •  Enhances Solvang’s small-town character and supports downtown businesses
  • Gives citizens a voice in major growth and development decisions surrounding Solvang
  • Makes sure voters know the specifics of a project
  • Enables a more collaborative process between the citizens and city leaders

An Urban Growth Boundary has significance for the rest of the Santa Ynez Valley?
What happens in Solvang, the crossroads of the Valley, has far-reaching effects on traffic, business, and quality of the life throughout the Valley. We are one inter-connected community.

Why an initiative?

The initiative process gives people the ability to affect public policy and to enact laws directly.

Save Our Solvang (SOS) is now a Campaign Committee and has hired the Environmental Defense Center to prepare the Urban Growth Boundary Initiative and related legal documents for the upcoming campaign.  It will collect initiative petition signatures in January and February to place the initiative on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election.