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Carlsbad election still too close to call

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – The battle over the future of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon development has yet to be determined even after the absentee ballots were counted, the county of Registrar of Voters revealed Thursday.

Election results: Carlsbad lagoon development project

At the end of Thursday night’s counting, the “no” votes totaled 18,658, or 51.18 percent, to 17,795 “yes” votes, or 48.82 percent.

Approximately 3,500 mail-in and provisional ballots still need to be counted. Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said more ballots will be counted Friday, and most of them will be tallied by the end of the work day Monday.

The development planned by Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated was opposed by environmental groups and mall owner Westfield, until recently the owner of a shopping center near Carlsbad’s northern city limits.

Caruso proposed to build on 15 percent of the 203-acre property and leave the rest as open space. A popular family-owned U-pick strawberry farm alongside Interstate 5 would be allowed to remain in operation.

The plans were approved last year by the Carlsbad City Council, but opponents — concerned about the size of the proposed buildings and worsening traffic congestion — collected enough petition signatures to force it to a public vote.