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Carlsbad Council Weighs Referendum Options For Proposed Mall

Photo by Alison St John

Protesters rally against the 85/15 Agua Hedionda Lagoon project, Aug. 20, 2015.

UPDATE: Nov. 4, 2015

The Carlsbad City Council Tuesday night accepted the signatures collected for a referendum on the 85/15 plan, but did not select a date for the election.

Original story:

The Carlsbad City Council votes Tuesday night whether to accept the signatures collected for a referendum on a plan to build a shopping center on a coastal lagoon.

The group Citizens for North County, which collected more than 6,500 signatures, would like the City Council to allow voters to decide the fate of the project on the November 2016 ballot.

The City Council in August unanimously approved a developer-sponsored initiative, without putting it to the public for a vote.

If the council decides to place the measure on the November ballot it would delay the project, and save the city half a million dollars, which is what it would cost to sponsor an earlier special election in 90 days.

The proposed development would preserve 85 percent of the 200-acre property on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and develop 15 percent into an upscale, outdoor retail and entertainment center.

Photo credit: Caruso Affiliated

Artists rendering of the 85/15 Plan, proposed for the Agua Hedionda lagoon, July 2015.

The developer, Caruso Affiliated, might prefer an earlier special election, but has not volunteered to help the city pay the costs.

Rick J. Caruso, founder and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated, said in a statement after the meeting:

"We respect the outcome of the signature verification and are confident the plan is supported by the majority of Carlsbad residents."

Nearby competitor, Westfield, put its plans to renovate its Carlsbad location on hold until the issue is resolved. Westfield declined to comment.

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