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Alameda County's Measure D passes easily

Agricultural land-use policy amendments approved by nearly 70% of voters

Voters across Alameda County have overwhelmingly supported the changes to agricultural and open space land-use policy for unincorporated areas, including the Livermore Valley, proposed under Measure D.

An amendment to the original Measure D, a proposition initially passed in 2000 countywide, the 2022 Measure D aimed to implement updates to the law that included expanding size, location and flexibility of potential buildings in agricultural areas, such as wine country operations.

Needing a simple majority of the vote in order to pass in the Nov. 8 election, Measure D has garnered 69.71% Yes in support to 30.29% No in opposition, as of Monday's results update -- which accounts for the vast majority of ballots cast countywide.

Measure D began as a way to conserve open agricultural space and large undeveloped rural land areas. The 2000 version of the measure required that to instate any amendments, voters would have to show support and approve them.

Its new amendments will allow for the inclusion and renovation of equestrian facilities, and additional operations for wineries and olive presses. The Livermore City Council was among the groups to enthusiastically endorse the 2022 Measure D.

The policy changes came in the wake of a report earlier this year by the Alameda County Local Agency Formation Commission that recommended the text amendments.

Since the LAFCO report, the Alameda County Community Development Agency and Planning Department clarified what the impacts would look like and determined that besides what is already allowed by the 2000 version, no additional land-uses would be introduced under the new Measure D.

"Over the past approximately 10 years, there has been a great deal of discussion about potential amendments to Measure D 2000 to increase the floor-area ratio allowed for agricultural buildings and equestrian facilities," department officials said in a statement at the time.

They also gave an explanation as to why land owners and county residents would opt to vote Yes, saying, "Members of the agricultural community and owners of equestrian facilities in the county have maintained that the square footage limitations put in place by (2000) Measure D inhibits their ability to have thriving agricultural operations."

Many supporters argued the amendments would positively benefit not only the wine and agricultural communities, but residents as well. Arguments against the measure, most notably made by the Alameda County Taxpayers Association, raised concerns about the growth of larger wineries into "wine factories", among other contentions.