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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Merced Voters may stop urban "sprawl"

Merced growth initiative progresses--
'Save Farmland' impact up for study

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6/26/2010--MERCED — An initiative aimed at curbing development in Merced's unincorporated lands is one step closer to possibly becoming law.

The Merced County Board of Supervisors voted this week to accept the county registrar's certification of the "Save Farmland" initiative and to begin a 30-day study of the measure's impact on county government and development.

The initiative, if passed by voters or enacted into law, would amend the county's general plan and apply to land designated for either agricultural or open space use. Such land could be converted to residential use only by a public vote. The initiative would lock in such rules until 2040.

More than 7,620 signatures in support of the measure were gathered by the initiative's supporters. The study is intended to help the board decide whether to enact the law or send it to the public for a vote. The study can't keep the initiative from appearing on voters' ballots.

Once the study is completed, supervisors can vote to enact the initiative into law within 10 days or put it on the Nov. 2 ballot.

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