Quick Take:

As of Wednesday, the yes on Q vote had amassed 67% of the vote and yes on S had a narrow 51% lead, with 3,151 votes counted. If one measure amasses more votes than the other by final count, it will become law.

Election 2022: Santa Cruz County

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Yes on Measure Q looks poised to win big in Watsonville.

By midnight Tuesday, Q had garnered 65% of the vote (with 3,151 ballots counted), while Measure S clung to a narrow 51% lead.

Measure Q is essentially a vote to keep growth within the existing urban limits, while S allows future city councils to annex farmland in the region for housing development. The two competing ballot measures offer opposing views over the city’s identity as an agrarian utopia.

Proponents of Measure Q argue there are plenty of underutilized or vacant plots within the city limits that could be considered for development over the next 20 years. They believe voters should prioritize protecting the region’s fertile farmland over annexing additional land for future development. Watsonville’s current urban boundaries were approved in 2002 and were set to expire in November and another in 2027.

Supporters of Measure S argue that the region’s affordability crisis disproportionately harms young people and families — particularly low-wage agricultural workers.

They believe building up the city’s downtown zone wouldn’t go far enough to address the community’s housing shortage and that creating economic opportunities for struggling millennials would require allowing the city to grow horizontally as well as vertically.

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