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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Poway
Measure W Referendum - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


11,319 votes yes (48.54%)

11,999 votes no (51.46%)

Do you approve Specific Plan Amendment 16-002 as adopted by the Poway City Council to amend the Old Coach Golf Estates Specific Plan, to allow development of a hotel with up to 240 rooms on the existing Maderas Golf Course site located at 17750 Old Coach Road?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure


Poway City Attorney

In compliance with Proposition FF [see City Attorney Impartial Analysis above for details] this measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council of the City of Poway.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Poway City Attorney

Under California law a specific plan allows a systematic implementation of a city’s general plan for all or part of the area covered by the general plan. A specific plan must include text and diagrams specifying, among other things, the location and the extent of uses of land within the area covered by the plan. A specific plan can limit those uses otherwise allowed by the underlying zone. Since 1990 the Old Coach Golf Estates Specific Plan (“OCGESP”) has applied to the development and operation of that part of Poway that includes the Maderas Golf Course (“Maderas”). As adopted by the Poway City Council the OCGESP currently limits development to a 27-hole championship golf course and clubhouse as well as a community of high quality, detached, single-family home sites on large parcels located throughout the plan area.

The owner of Maderas has applied for an amendment to the OCGESP in order to expand the allowable uses to include the construction of a hotel with not more than 240 rooms (the “Amendment”). Any hotel must be built within the “Golf Course Envelope” as that term is defined in the OCGESP. The Amendment also includes a definition of “hotel,” providing that any hotel must be designed to complement the clubhouse and the surrounding area, and may include a spa and other related facilities commonly found in a resort destination hotel. On July 19, 2016, the Poway City Council approved the Amendment as requested by the owner of Maderas. The approval of the Amendment only allows the possibility of a hotel in the Golf Course Envelope; the property where Maderas is located will retain the zone classification of PC “planned community” and any hotel will still require the additional approval of a conditional use permit by the City Council under the City’s Zoning Code.

Even though the Amendment has been approved by the City Council the City’s General Plan and Zoning Code (Title 17 of the Poway Municipal Code) both provide that the City Council’s approval is not effective unless approved by the City’s voters. These voter approval requirements come from what is known as Proposition FF, adopted by the City’s voters in 1988. Proposition FF amended the City’s General Plan to require, among other things, that any change to the Old Coach Planned Community Development Plan that would increase the commercial use within the Old Coach area must be approved by the City’s voters. Proposition FF also added section 17.20.130 to the Poway Municipal Code specifically requiring voter approval of any increase in commercial use within the Old Coach Planned Community. Because the Amendment allows the increase in commercial use at Maderas, and because Maderas is located within the Old Coach Planned Community, the City Council’s approval of the Amendment is not effective unless approved by a majority vote of those voters casting ballots at the election. 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR



YES on Proposition W!

Proposition W protects Poway’s community character and way of life. The hotel at Maderas Golf Course will be limited to no more than 240 rooms, will bring jobs and tax revenue to our City, and will be designed to blend with the surrounding golf course and neighborhoods.

Important safeguards protect Poway residents:

  • Full environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is required by law.
  • A two-story building height limitation is required by law.
  • Hotel approval by public hearing at the City Council is required by law.
  • The Proposition keeps the golf course economically sustainable, preventing densification and maintaining community character.

Proposition W won’t raise your taxes but the hotel will provide increased revenues for Poway!

  • The hotel will generate an estimated $1.5 million in Transit Occupancy Tax, plus property taxes. That’s three times more TOT than Poway receives today.
  • These are taxes paid by hotel guests and the hotel’s owners, NOT you!
  • $1.5M in TOT could pay for:

- Poway’s annual budget for Fire Prevention and Paramedics
- Poway’s annual budget for the Performing Arts Center
- Almost all of Poway’s Parks and Open Space Capital Improvement budget

Poway residents say this about Proposition W:

“I like that Proposition W puts the tax burden on the right people—the owners of the project—and not on Poway residents.” Don Higginson, businessman and former Mayor of Poway

“If we want to continue to be ‘The City in the Country,’ we need to say yes to projects like Proposition W.” Kelly Burt, Neighbor of Maderas Golf Course

If you want new funding for critical City services without raising your taxes,



General Manager, Maderas Golf Course

Chair, Poway Chamber of Commerce

Neighbor of Maderas Golf Couse

Businessman and former Mayor of Poway

President/CEO Poway Chamber of Commerce 

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST



Demand transparency, honesty, more information.
Vote NO on W

Don’t be fooled. Nothing being promised by developer Sunroad Enterprises is what it appears. There are too many red flags and unanswered questions to approve a development of this scale and impact.

  • Not a “boutique” hotel, defined by industry as 100 rooms or less. The plan is a RESORT DESTINATION HOTEL with spa and related facilities on the scale of the 287-room Rancho Bernardo Inn.
  • Inflated tax revenue? How is the alleged $1.5 million in hotel tax revenue being calculated without substantiating project scope? Will it require all 240 rooms and what level of occupancy to meet that revenue? If development size is reduced, WILL ACTUAL REVENUE BE LESS?
  • No guarantees. The developer can make NO GUARANTEES how the City will spend the tax revenue; these are empty promises.
  • Nothing is final. Specifications on height limit, square footage, etc. are not final and CAN BE CHANGED AND APPROVED by the City with little say from residents.
  • Where is the water coming from? Purchased city water? On-site wells? Is water usage by a large resort sustainable?
  • All City Council members declined to take a position on the development.

What the Poway community is saying about Proposition W:

“We urge Poway voters to pay attention and be as knowledgeable as possible before casting their ballots.” –Steve Dreyer, Editor, Poway News Chieftain

“I strongly recommend that you vote NO, until such time that a more comprehensive plan is presented to the voters.” –Concerned citizen

“The City has recently demonstrated a pattern of decision-making on projects without adequate community input. I have real concerns about how big decisions on a large hotel will be made.” – Concerned citizen

ALL POWAY VOTERS deserve transparency and accurate information and should demand it by voting NO on Prop W.


President, GVCA

Vice President, GVCA

Treasurer, GVCA

Secretary, GVCA

Board Member GVCA

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR



Poway voters have a right to expect that development in the City will be created in an OPEN, COLLABORATIVE AND POSITIVE MANNER WITH THE COMMUNITY. This ballot measure was crafted in haste with NO dialogue and very little information.

Voters should ask themselves these basic questions:

  • Is it transparent? It’s NOT merely a 240-room hotel but a resort development, which typically has facilities for corporate conferences that GREATLY IMPACT TRAFFIC, SAFETY AND NOISE ISSUES in the immediate area and along Espola Road, Twin Peaks Road, Poway Road, and Pomerado Road.
  • Is it honest? The $1,500,000 TAX REVENUE IS UNFOUNDED and could be much less based on actual occupancy levels and number of rooms built. The City will get even less money after deducting costs for additional city services needed for this large development.

Also note, the 35-foot height CAN be exceeded by simply applying for another amendment to the Specific Plan and receiving approval by a City Council majority.

  • Is there enough information? According to a June 2016 Traffic Impact Analysis, a 240-room resort WOULD INCREASE TRAFFIC BY NEARLY 80% on Old Coach Road.

Has the developer demonstrated the long-term viability of a large resort in Poway?

The answer to each question is NO. Key decisions on a development of this size should not be taken out of voters’ hands. YOU should have a say. Send a message that voters deserve better at the ballot. Vote NO on W. 


President, GVCA

Vice President, GVCA

Treasurer, GVCA

Board Member, GVCA

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST



The opponents of Measure W are giving you anonymous statements by “concerned citizens” instead of the actual facts about the project. What are they hiding and why?

Here’s what you really need to know:

Measure W and the laws under which it will be implemented are really quite straightforward. The law protects you and Poway. Maderas is not asking for any exceptions to the law.

  • The project will generate hotel room tax and increased property taxes paid by the hotel to the City which can be spent on Poway needs, including public safety, fire prevention, and the Performing Arts Center.
  • Residents will have a voice. There will be public hearings by the City Council to evaluate the Project. That’s the law.
  • The hotel can not exceed Poway’s height restriction of two stories. That’s the law.
  • No groundwater will be used for the Hotel.
  • There will be full environmental review. That’s the law.
  • The project can be no more than 240 rooms, but the City Council – after public input - will decide. That’s the law.
  • All new taxes will be paid by Maderas, not you.

The City Council voted to put this before the voters, as the law requires, and decided that they, as individuals, would remain neutral. There are no hidden messages here; they simply did not want to tip the scales either way.

If you want new funding for critical City services without raising your taxes,



General Manager
Maderas Golf Course

Poway Resident

Poway High School
Girls Golf Coach

Chair Board of Directors
Poway Chamber of Commerce

Poway High School Assistant Coach
Boys and Girls Golf Team

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure W

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure W
Organizations (0)
Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

More information

News (4)

Poway voters face hotel zoning question on Maderas site — October 14, 2016 San Diego Union-Tribune
Poway hotel issue labeled Measure W on ballot — September 9, 2016 Pomerado News/San Diego Union-Tribune
Maderas hotel measure to appear on November ballot — July 20, 2016 Pomerado News/San Diego Union-Tribune
Poway golf course owners seek hotel ballot measure — June 29, 2016 Pomerado News/San Diego Union-Tribune

Contact Info

Yes on Measure W
Maderas Golf Club
No on Measure W
Green Valley Civic Association
P.O. Box 114
Poway, CA 92064
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