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PHOENIX-Opposing growth plans that could decide the fate of new development throughout Arizona for decades to come are garnering national support from both development and environmental camps. Polls by the Arizona Republic indicate, however, that the issue will be left up to undecided voters on Nov. 7. That’s because there’s only a slight margin between voters who say they’re for or against two propositions: one is anti-growth, the other pro-growth.

The National Association of Home Builders, worried that passage of Proposition 202 could spark similar growth-control initiatives around the country, appealed to its 200,000 members nationwide to contribute money to defeat the measure.

“They want to drive homebuilders out of business,” the letter says, “and force American families into crowded, high-density neighborhoods against their will.”

Prop. 202 would require more municipalities to set growth boundaries based on 10-year population forecasts. The cost of any infrastructure development outside those lines would be born completely by developers. The measure would also put a two-year development moratorium in place while cities draw up their boundaries.

Supporters of Prop. 202 include more than 50 environmental groups, civic organizations and business groups, says Sandy Bahr, spokeswoman for the Arizona branch of the Sierra Club, the main backer of the measure.

A recent advertising blitz has eroded some support for the measure, recent polls show. A survey indicates that 46% of registered voters favor Prop. 202, with 34% opposed and 20% who don’t know. That compares to a September survey that showed 62% favored the measure and 23% opposed it.

“The more people learn about Proposition 202, the less they like it,” says Spencer Kamps, head of Arizonans for Responsible Planning, the chief opposition group.

A competing growth plan, Proposition 100, also lost ground, but not nearly as much as Prop. 202. This measure would set no boundary limits, but would set aside millions of dollars each year for the purchase of land for conservation. The survey shows that 63% of those surveyed support Proposition 100, 21% oppose it and 16% don’t know. That compares to 67% who supported it in September and 20% who opposed it.

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