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Measure M does two things:

1) Allows residents to vote before the City's rules on building heights can be changed.  This gives you power over the future heights in your neighborhood.

2) Increases the amount of affordable housing developers have to include in new large projects by 5%.  This helps our lower-income kids, families, seniors, students and essential workers continue to live here.


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Increase Affordable Housing | Secure Your Right to Vote on Upzoning

Yes on Measure M

Help us get out the vote and spread awareness:


What is Measure M?

Measure M gives YOU a direct vote in zoning height and affordability in downtown and our neighborhoods. 
In Short, Measure M has Two Simple Goals: 

Securing Your Voting Rights: If developers and local government want to change our General Plan or zoning ordinance to construct large developments that exceed current zoning height limits, residents of the City of Santa Cruz ought to be able to vote on this.  

Increasing Affordable Housing: Increase the ratio of inclusionary/affordable housing to 25% in new large projects of 30+ units (as the City Planning Commission researched and recommended.) 

We have incredible community support!

We're grateful for many local leaders' and organizations' endorsements. Our incredible volunteers collected over 5,000 accepted signatures and 7,000 raw signatures in under 3 months to get this grassroots initiative on the ballot! This was double what we needed in half the time.


 In 2022 the Santa Cruz Planning Commission recommended City Council increase the % of required affordable housing in new construction. 

In May 2022, the Santa Cruz Planning Commission voted in favor of Commissioner Andy Schifferin's motion to increase the minimum inclusionary requirement for affordable housing from its current level of 20% up to 25% (and in some cases 30%).Commissioner Greenberg went on to note that increasing inclusionary rates is embraced as a best-practice throughout the Bay Area. This aligns with one of Measure M's two main goals: More required affordable housing


Among the thousands of citizens of Santa Cruz that support Measure M are the following community members and leaders. Here is a partial list of endorsers:

Measure M decided to not pursue group endorsements since we wanted to be inclusive and we are supported by a broad spectrum of people across all political parties. 

Gary Patton - Environmental Attorney, Former County Supervisor

Katherine Beiers - Former Mayor

Jane Weed-Pomerantz - Former Mayor

Bruce Van Allen - Former Mayor

Celia Scott - Former Mayor

Sandy Brown - City Council Member

Nell Newman, Founder, Newman’s Own Organics, Environmentalist

Peter Beckmann, Owner, Beckman’s Bakery, Co-Founder of Think Local First

Janel Garvin, Downtown Business Owner

Martha MacCambridge, Small Business Owner

Robin Lerios, Midtown Business Owner

Bruce Bratton, Journalist/Communicator, Radio Host, Editor

Joseph S. Quigg, Affordable and Market-Rate Housing Developer

Ellen Fitzgerald Murtha, Retired Senior Analyst, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz

John Morris, General Contractor

Lee Brokaw, General Contractor for 36 years

Frank Barron, Retired Urban Planner

Mitchell Goldstein, Architect

David Wilson, Commercial Real Estate Developer

Linda Gilcrest, Construction Manager, Developer Consultant, Property Manager

Rick Longinotti, Author of “Right to Vote on Desal” Initiative

Hector Marin-Castro, Santa Cruz City Schools Teacher’s Aide and Service Worker

Keresha Durham-Tamba, Spanish Bilingual Educator, Environmental-Climate Activist

Susan Monheit, Retired State Water Regulator, Environmental Scientist

Laura Lee, Retired Teacher, Corporate Trainer

Eva Brunner, Accountant

Ron Pomerantz, Retired Fire Captain

Fred Geiger, Union Electrician and Union Officer

Joy Schendledecker, Teacher, Organizer, Artist

Sheila Carrillo, Educator

Freya Sand, Teacher

Alison Buchter, Spanish Teacher

Susan Martinez

Denise Holbert

Marianne Franks

Gillian Greensite

Charlene Clark

Bill Barnes

Shelly D'Amour

Shelley Hatch, Co-leader Frederick Street Irregulars which created Frederick Street Park

A.L. Taylor, UCSC Environmental Studies student

Peter Scott, Physics Professor

Craig Reinarman, Director, Community Studies Program, Professor of Sociology & Legal Studies Emeritus

Grant Wilson

Jeffrey Smedberg

Jeffrey Arnet

Paul Benjamin

Dana Fiske

Lisa Ekstrom

Robert Stephens

Gabriel McHugh

Stephen Buchter, High School Teacher

Meri Pezzoni, Retired Music Teacher

Ellen O'Hanlon, Healing Arts Practitioner and Open Studio Artist

Shara McGraham, Santa Cruz resident and taxpayer for 42 years

Margaret Nelson

Glenn Bartz, Lifelong Resident of Santa Cruz

Phyllis Greenleaf, former School Board member, Author and Educator

Greg Sprague

Cathy Calfo

Erin Wood, Licensed Acupuncturist, UCSC graduate

Aethia Danforth

Ellen Adams, Licensed PsychoTherapist and Mental Health Advocate

Pam North, Student

Beth Freewoman, Care-giver, Holistic Health Practicioner

Gabrielle Laney-Andrews, Freelance Artist

Melissa Resendiz, Care-giver

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Yes on Measure M: Additional Detail

Measure M is about democracy, and your voice being heard above those of
profiteering corporations and developers.

Measure M - Empowers City Residents

Measure M was created by a grassroots group of Santa Cruz residents concerned about the direction the City is taking, and the lack of community voice in that process. Steve Bare, one signer of the initiative, put it this way: “We came together because we each shared the perception that something was amiss with the planned development for Santa Cruz. We came together because we care more about civility, livability, citizen empowerment, and sustainability - than we do about profit or power.”

Should Measure M pass in March 2024, it would do two things:

1. Measure M Means More Community Input. It means a bigger voice for YOU:


In general, Measure M gives the public a direct voice in the structural form of Santa Cruz's future — a voice citizens don't have, because height limits and land-use decisions are currently made solely by the City Council and the Mayor (just 7 people). 

Measure M protects all neighborhoods, including downtown, from the city raising building height limits without a vote of the people.

Specifically, Measure M requires a majority vote before the City General Plan or Zoning Ordinance can be amended to raise current height limits — limits which are already quite high, at 5-8 stories in most of downtown and south of Laurel (when the State Density Bonus Law developer entitlement is taken into account). 

In our current context, passing Measure M would also mean the City of Santa Cruz would be required to get voter approval before current height limits can be raised to allow the multiple proposed 12-story high-rises (see pages 4 through 6) in the 29-acres south of Laurel Street (i.e., TWICE as tall as the new tower at Pacific and Laurel). 

2. Measure M Means More Affordable Housing:


The initiative also increases the percentage of required affordable units in each multi-family development from 20% to 25% (in projects of 30+ units). The City Planning Commission recommended a similar change, but the City Council refused to adopt it. Now, the voters can adopt it by passing Measure M.  

Many recent housing developments in Santa Cruz only have 11%-13% of their units dedicated to low-and-moderate income households. This is due to the State Density Bonus Law, which dilutes the City's currently required 20% affordable rate down to a net of only 11%-13%.  A “Yes” vote on Measure M will increase the amount of affordable housing that developers are required to build by 5%, so that when the Density Bonus Law is used, the net affordable percentage will be a much more reasonable 16%-18%.

This is important, because simply "building lots of market rate housing" alone isn't going to address affordability given the demand to live here from people willing to pay current market-rate prices. Our opponents might claim this isn't true, but the empirical and anecdotal evidence (please reference FAQ page) shows that the only way to address affordability is increasing the proportion of affordable housing in new construction. 

Please also see the March 5, 2024 City Ballot Pamphlet Argument in Favor of Measure M and Rebuttal to the Argument Against Measure M

Read the full initiative language here.

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