The Nov. 3 ballot question for Measure N, the Strada Verde Initiative, will change again slightly after the San Benito County Board of Supervisors approved in a 3-1 vote on Sept. 8 to settle with Frank Barragan to remove “Innovation Park” from the first line, thus reducing the attorney fees owed to the San Benito County resident to $7,500. “Innovation park” is part of the project’s name.
Supervisor Peter Hernandez was the lone “no” vote.
Barragan is chairman of Concerned Citizens of San Benito County and ran for District 2 seat in the March primary election. He filed a lawsuit against the county alleging the ballot question was biased in favor of the project. San Benito County Superior Court Judge Omar Rodriguez ruled in favor of Barragan and made two changes to the ballot language on Sept. 2.
The Strada Verde Innovation Park, proposed near Highway 25 and 101 along the Pajaro River, would encompass 2,777 acres, including open land with a 2.4-mile trail; a business center with a hotel, retail shops and restaurants; and an automotive technology and research center with automobile testing tracks. According to the county auditor’s fiscal report, the project would create about $10.6 million annually in property tax revenue and an additional $2 million in unsecured tax revenue.
Following the closed session on Sept. 8, County Counsel Barbara Thompson said the settlement is subject to the court’s approval.
If approved, the question will read in full: “Shall an initiative be adopted 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?”
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