Developer may be working to prevent referendum on Carlsbad mall

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – Caruso Affiliated, the developer behind the proposed mall on the banks of the Agua Hedionda lagoon in Carlsbad, may be working to stop a public vote on the project, FOX 5 has learned.

Citizens for North County, the group pushing for the referendum, kicked off a signature-gathering event Tuesday. The group needs thousands of signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

“We have to gather 9,000 signatures within 30 days so everyone has a chance to vote on it,” said Diane Nygaard.

“I was contacted by one of the opponents and asked to investigate,” said Tom Shepard, a political consultant.

In an exclusive interview with FOX 5, Shepard said he has been looking into Caruso Affiliated. He said he learned that Caruso recently established contracts with all major signature-gathering firms in California.

“They’ve indicated they’ve all been approached by the supporters of the development and received payment, that would put them in a conflict of interest situation and bar them from working in the city of Carlsbad,” explained Shepard.  “So none of those firms are available to anyone who opposes the project.”

Shepard said in total there are about five major signature-gathering firms in the state, but he didn’t say how much each firm was paid. He said the developer Kilroy also tried to use similar tactics to derail the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley.

"They were paying each firm $50,000 to agree not to work on the referendum,” said Shepard.

Kilroy was not successful with their efforts to buy out the firms.

“So far it appears Caruso has been successful in eliminating all the big firms from working In Carlsbad,” said Shepard.

FOX 5 contacted Caruso Affiliated, but Executive Vice President of Development Matt Middlebrook refused to discuss the company's political strategy regarding the referendum. He did say:

“For three years we’ve worked closely with the Carlsbad community to create the 85/15 Plan, which will provide accessible open space at no cost to taxpayers, preserve strawberry farming and give families a great place to gather, and we’re pleased that City Council approved the plan unanimously.  We will continue to work with Carlsbad residents to ensure that Corporate interests from outside of California and others do not overturn the council’s approval of the 85/15 Plan.”

 Shepard said buying out signature-gathering firms isn’t illegal, but it does raise a question of ethics.

“They’re effectively denying the voters in Carlsbad to have a voice on this issue. I don’t think that’s how the system was set up to work,” said Shepard. “I should think with a major project like this, voters in the city deserve a chance to get a voice.”

“He is completely writing the rule book himself in a way that has never been done anywhere like this in San Diego County,” said Nygaard.

As for the buy-out, Nygaard said her effort never had the intention of hiring signature-gatherers anyway.

“We were never going to buy any signature gatherers. My goodness, this is a citizens' effort, a grassroots effort,” said Nygaard. “People are out here who care about their community, who are talking to their friends and neighbors. You can’t buy that. That is priceless.”

Arnie Cohen, a volunteer supporting the development, said voters need to look at the bigger picture.

‘You can shop, you can dine, pick strawberries and enjoy the open space. That’s not something you can find anywhere else in San Diego,” said Cohen.

62 comments

  • Don Burton

    I can shop, dine,enjoy open space and pick fruit and vegetables right now…all within walking distance of my own home. Caruso’s tactics and those of his employees, hired help and supporters continue to sink to new lows, further evidence that he is a man who cannot and should not be trusted. For the record, I wouldn’t trust Ukegawa either. He has also taken the low road, choosing to cast the first stone by making baseless allegations. We KNOW what they have done and are doing. We have proof and facts. They just make stuff up because they are desperate. We still live in a democracy and that it, at the heart of it, what this fight is all about…saving our democracy! Who cares about the strawberry fields anymore? This was never about that. They just called it that because it sounded better than the “initiative to allow a rich, greedy LA developer to build a gigantic mall on pristine wetlands without following proper process so he can maximize his profits”. Thank you to Ms Chen for doing some REAL reporting, something sorely lacking from the UT.

    • Mrs. Lisa R. Grossman

      I THINK THE MALL AND NEW NATURE TRAILS WILL BE A GREAT ADDITION TO OUR BEAUTIFUL CITY.
      Mr. Burton, you state that an LA developer will be building a mega mall on “pristine wetlands”. That statement tells me one of two things. Either you are a liar and trying to deceive the people of Carlsbad into believing your rhetoric or you have never stepped foot on the land in question. This property is NOT PRISTINE WETLANDS as you claim. The land is scorched brown earth with SDG&E electrical towers everywhere. The land is over run with dead scrubs and weeds that are not indigenous to the area. Its looks like a dirty mess. The developer will be spending millions of dollars to replant indigenous plants and restore the surrounding area into a truly beautiful nature walk that all Carlsbad residents will be able to enjoy. A wonderful place to visit and something we all can be proud of. I’ve spoken with every mother I know at Carrillo Elementary and we are all in favor of this new addition to our city.

      • C. Gunderson

        The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!!! :-)
        If this mall is built the skies will turn black. The highways will be backed up for 100 miles and women will no longer be able to bear children! The city of Carlsbad will most certainly be destroyed!
        I’ve been around a long time kids and I’ve heard it all. Humans simply don’t like change and many will fight it at every turn. But alas. Change is constant and never ending.
        Remember when Costco wanted to open? Oh my goodness, people were up in arms trying to stop that giant from ruining our quaint city. Well Costco was built and people accepted the change. Now only a short time later the parking lot is full everyday of the week with happy Carlsbad shoppers.

        Remember the dreaded Legoland?! That was most certainly going to destroy Carlsbad. All the traffic was going to choke our poor city and there would be no survivors. Just broken pieces of lego and not a soul in sight. As we all know. All the terrible things that were supposed to happen to the environment, traffic etc. etc. etc. Never Happened. :-) Legoland is now an accepted part of our beautiful city.

        This new mall is coming so we better brace ourselves for doomsday. Or just accept it as a wonderful new place to enjoy.
        :-)

  • Idiot Liberal

    I know some favor “executive actions” where no one but one douchebag has a vote.

    Put it to the vote of the people, right? What’s wrong with that?

  • Leo W.

    Two and a half million developer bucks were spent to deceive many of the fifteen percent of Carlsbad Voters who signed a “citizens initiative.” All the While the city council and the Union Tribune have obviously been on the take. Hoards of concerned citizens seventeen to seventy seven years old were at council asking only to bring this to vote and have the entire community involved in this major decision. A 500,000 sq foot shopping center 1/2 a mile from the shore and in the worst possible place for commuter and holiday traffic would be a complete disaster. I feel this developer and his money need Carlsbad a lot more than Carlsbad needs another mall.

  • Don Burton

    I think we can now officially change the headline to this story. Caruso IS working to stop our referendum. He is airing commercials telling people not to sign our petition. He is sending his thugs out into the community to intimidate, harass and misinform people. He is spending money to suppress the vote, which is ironic when one considers that he originally offered to pay for the special election. Of course that offer was made because he never thought there would actually be an election. Now, unsurprisingly, he has withdrawn the offer (or claimed he never made it, to be more accurate). Talk about sleazy.

  • Joan Park

    Thank You, again, for Fox5 for fair and balanced reporting…

    One clarification: This is NOT the “Strawberry Fields Project” this is the “Mega Mall on the Lagoon.”
    Let’s keep that message clear and focused.

  • Qshell

    Thank you Fox 5 for reporting what is REALLY happening in Carlsbad. Caruso is a first class A-HOLE, trying to buy his way. LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dennis Sisneros

    I find it odd that Diane, who is an Oceanside resident, is leading the so-called “grassroot” effort. The choice should be left to the residents of Carlsbad.

    The family who owns the strawberry fields already supports the plan.

    In all fairness I’m also an Oceanside resident and it’s none of my business what Carlsbad does.

    • Don Burton

      When you consider that the Agua Hedionda Lagoon also faces Oceanside since it’s on the border, it doesn’t seem so odd. What is odd is why so many outsiders from LA, Orange county and Carmel Valley, not to mention New York and Washington DC have been enlisted on the side of those who support this. Could it be that Caruso used his deep pockets to try to rig the system? You can count on it. Just follow the money.

    • Jenifer

      According to this logic we wouldn’t have many natural treasures preserved throughout our state and country. Recognize that Oceanside is a stone’s throw from Carlsbad. There are pros and cons to the plan, but let’s get real. Someone living in Oceanside (and beyond for that matter) certainly has a vested interest in the responsible development and/or preservation of the area.

    • Lisa

      What Caruso is doing is called voter suppression. I’m glad our Oceanside neighbors are willing to help see who Caruso really is. After all they have to sit in any traffic created by a mega-mall too. PS Caruso owns the land, if he chose to he could gift Jimmy the land WITHOUT a mall. Instead he uses him as a tool. Sad really.

  • Paula Yokoyama

    I have lived in Carlsbad for 3 years and am for the 85/15 development. I think the nature trails and the increased access to the Lagoon will be wonderful. This plan insures the Strawberry Fields will be preserved and grow produce for the farm to table eating place there. I am excited about this wonderful development.

    • Todd

      I’m fairly certain the Caruso people have said that the farm to table restaurant will NOT be getting food from the strawberry fields or other new development going on the south side of Cannon as part of the new flower fields project.

  • Tim VanKlaveren

    Dennis,

    This project will affect all of North County. The residents of Carlsbad, myself included, reached out to her for help. Not the other way around.

    And just a thought; is caruso from Carlsbad? Is bryce ross from Carlsbad? Were the signature gatherers from Carlsbad? Does Janette Littler live in Carlsbad? Remember the lady who works for caruso and also as the campaign manager for mayor hall and councilman Schumacher? Does half of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation board of directors live in Carlsbad? Remember the caruso employee who sits on the board?

    Now let’s compare numbers on whose side has more major players living outside Carlsbad. I’ll leave the math to you.

    I do appreciate your opinion and your concern for my city. Had caruso not used deceitful tactics in the beginning, many of us wouldn’t be here. But instead, he is continuing to supress the vote. This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. This isn’t the American way. When you PROMISE me a vote, you deliver. Im a little disturbed by the residents who feel that it is OK that he flat out lied. My kids know it’s not OK to lie. Why doesn’t this billionaire?

    He has pissed off WAY too many people. Hopefully he will regret his unethical decisions.

    • Don Burton

      Bravo Tim, Couldn’t have said it better myself. It just seems some people have cotton stuffed in their ears (and maybe it goes even further into their skulls). This entire thing is just so mind-boggling to me. But Caruso started it and we’re going to finish it. Had Caruso not tried to take a shortcut, we wouldn’t be here. Maybe he’ll learn a lesson from this, but probably not. He’s not the kind of guy who is used to having people say No to him, I’m sure. I KNOW we all learned a valuable lesson. Don’t let people run for election UNOPPOSED. It gives them an inflated ego and makes them think they run the joint.

  • Gregg Gunther

    I have lived in Carlsbad for over twenty years with 5 years living on Agua Hedionda lagoon. Mayor Hall and the city council made the Right Decision to allow this development.
    Almost twenty thousand Carlsbad voters signed a petition in favor of this project. If this went to a vote the permits would have been approved at the ballot box. The voices of voters in Carlsbad were heard when the City council approved this project… without spending 1/2 million dollars of tax payers money on an unnesesary special election.

    The environmentalists who are against this decision have not thought it through.
    While living on the lagoon and water skiing 4-5 times per week I always worried about the water quality. With planting fields located so close to the lagoon’s edge – dangerous pesticides were constantly leaching from the soil into the lagoon.

    This new development will be subject to much stricter environmental regulations than the current planting fields are. I firmly believe that in the end – the water quality of Agua Hedionda lagoon will be improved and will be much safer for all the residents and visitors who enjoy recreational water sports.

    Gregg Gunther 32°

  • Don Burton

    I just spoke with some people who attended the city council meeting. I missed it because of a wedding in Michigan. They said Caruso had thugs blocking the doors and the aisles so people couldn’t sit inside UNLESS they were supporters. So basically Jerry and all you other supporters of this POS, you can all drop dead. You think I’ve been vicious up to this point. You ain’t seen nothing yet. I’ve never encountered in all my 54 years such unabashed arrogance coupled with such complete ignorance. The arrogance is Caruso’s. The ignorance is on the part of his supporters. There is no arguing with you people because you do not have the capacity to think. Your brains do not function. You are mindless zombies enthralled by the Svengali-like powers of this huckster from LA who has no more morals than a streetwalker. He is now airing his lies again (good, let him waste his money) and you knuckleheads just eat it up with a spoon. No wonder we’re in such a sorry state. I used to be proud of Carlsbad and happy that I chose to live here after doing so much careful research. I’m still proud of some of Carlsbad. Proud of our excellent police, fire, public workers. Proud of our kids and our schools. Proud of the informed members of the citizenry. But I am absolutely ashamed of the sorry excuse for elected officials we have. They are the poorest bunch of self-serving liars I’ve ever seen (and I come from New Jersey, so that’s saying something). So Jerry, Arnie, etal if you guys enjoy bending over and getting reamed by Caruso while Hall holds his pants for him, go right ahead. Please don’t ask us to participate. We’re not into that kind of thing.

  • Sue

    First of all, thank you for such fair and educational reporting…hats off..I was at that City Council meeting from 3pm to 10 pm. Caruso’s employees at the CIty meeting…I say that respectfully looked like FBI agents. I would not be surprised they were carrying weapons, took total control of the meeting at 2:30 pm with preferential seating inside. Myself and about 500 residents including senior citizens had to sit outside. We watched Caruso sign speakers up at the outside desk so they wouldn’t have to wait in line. Seriously their pro speakers were coached while speaking in front of the Council and coached from the sidelines. Seriously??? Why not let the citizens vote? And, by the way…this is having the opposite effect on this community than you would expect. I personally believe this is a democracy where everyone’s opinion matters. I believe this referendum is bringing the citizens of Carlsbad together and we are now working towards a common goal. Together,,,If Caruso development had nothing to hide then why the strong arming?

  • Dane Pearson

    Great comments all around. Let me just say, as a young Carlsbad resident, that I am in favor of the plan going through for two reasons. 1. It is important to not sign the petition because corporate interests from outside California are trying to kill Jimmy Ukegawa’s beloved family strawberry business. This is a treasure of Carlsbad, and should remain so. Also, the petition would best not be signed, since our much-trusted city council voted unanimously to support the 85/15 plan after hearing from many Carlsbad residents and thoroughly reviewing it. It would be best for Carlsbad not to sign the petition.

    • Don Burton

      Dear Dane,
      corporate interests my foot. you are a prime example of what is wrong here. you simply parrot what you have been told to say by your parents who have been instructed by Caruso. The only OUTSIDE interests at work here are Caruso and his hired henchmen. “Slick” Rick is not going to destroy this community. His duplicitous tactics have backfired on him and now he is realizing you can’t buy people’s loyalty (well, not unless you are a Mayor or City Councilmember or some other weak-minded, easily manipulated stooge). As for KILLING Jimmy’s business, most of us WERE sympathetic, but we’ve come to realize that when you align yourself with bullies, you lose our sympathy. Jimmy and his family have used similar strong-arm tactics against their employees for years. People seem to have forgotten that. I doubt the many migrant workers who were abused will ever forget. Neither will we.

      • C.B. Ureste

        As a Carlsbad resident I support this project because it’s good for the city and good for the people. As for Don Burton? No matter how many thousands of words you write on this subject, you will still be wrong. Mr. Caruso is not the bully – You Are. Your constant sophomoric insults are offensive. Please do us all a favor and stop commenting on this subject. Your uneducated ranting has been heard. We need not hear another word from you sir.

        • Todd

          Whether Caruso is a bully or not is not the issue. But what is an issue is that Caruso and his people have been deceitful, duplicitous and have outright lied to the residents of Carlsbad. And the bigger issue is that the Mayor and City Council are ok with that. There really is no disputing this.

          • Jack O'Brian

            I respectfully disagree Todd. The real issue is whether this project will ultimately benefit the citizens of Carlsbad. And it will. We can argue tactics all day. Sponsoring a petition to stop this project just because someone doesn’t like the way it is being executed is ridiculous. Let’s cut off our nose to spite our face? That’s what the detractors are suggesting. Absurd argument.

      • Sage Naumann

        Don,
        I don’t think we need to get personal here. We’re all people who love Carlsbad. Civil discourse is the cornerstone of our nation, and I’m sorry you feel the need to get nasty.
        – Sage

        • Don Burton

          Sage,
          Caruso got nasty first and so did his supporters when they treated people with disrespect. If people have a thin skin, that’s their problem. The truth hurts. When you associate with liars, you condone their lies. None of these people are innocent. I’m sticking up for truth and justice and I’ll fight however I choose. As for the other commenter, I wouldn’t even bother trying to respond to him since he’s clearly too ignorant to understand what’s going on.

  • Keyrollos Ibrahim

    As far as I know Dianne Nygaard is not even a Carlsbad resident. She couldn’t even sign the petition she is pushing. I really don’t care about the background politics of all this I just care about my beautiful city. As a long time Carlsbad resident and a graduate of Carlsbad High school I want to see this city’s iconic lifestyle preserved. That is why I support this plan, what people are not talking about is the fact that without this plan the strawberry fields are dead. I want kids to have the same joy I had growing up in accessing those fields. And the plan actually increases access for the public to the beauty of the lagoon. As it stands the lagoon is cordoned off to the few who can afford to be residents around it. If someone outside those select few neighborhoods wants access they have to park in the limited space in residential areas. Access to our lagoon should be open for all people. Having a nice developed open space area while preserving 85% of the land around it is a perfect compromise

    • Don Burton

      We have plenty of parks. And besides you miss the point. If you want Caruso’s plan, God Bless. But let us have a real vote on it first. That’s what HIS people told everyone. No one would be here arguing if Caruso didn’t try to ram this through as an initiative and simply submitted it the same way as every other development that has ever been done here. Wake up people. This is someone using a loophole that was cleverly inserted into a law in order to game the system.

    • Don Burton

      And Diane has a much right, if not more, to speak on this matter than anyone else. She has worked for years to try to preserve the environment of the entire North county. What have YOU been doing?

  • Bill Wisniewski

    we have it on good authority that : THE IMPERIAL EMPEROR CARUSO CEASAR HAS PURCHASED TONS OF CHICKEN MANURE FROM THE SAME VALLEY CENTER RANCH THAT SUPPLIED THE ESCONDIDO DEVELOPER CHICKENPOO DUMPER.

    IF THE REFERENDUM INSURGENTS DO NOT STAND DOWN, THEN THE EMPEROR CARUSO CEASAR WILL DUMP IT IN AGUA HENDIONDA LAGOON WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE. THE MIGHTY CARUSO HAS SPOKEN! LET IT BE SO ORDERED! LET IT BE SO WRITTEN!

    BOYCOTT NORDSTROMS!

  • Dane Pearson

    As a current Carlsbad resident and graduate of Carlsbad High (’11), I firmly believe in the 85/15 plan as a gift to our community, open space, trials, educational opportunities for our children, improvement to the water filtration system and water shed, preservation of agriculture and farming. Caruso is a quality person with integrity. He and his staff started 3 years and learned, listened to our community, and developed an outstanding plan.

    It is vital for Carlsbad that this petition not be signed for two reasons. 1. Jimmy Ukegawa’s family strawberry farming business, which is beloved in Carlsbad, will be killed by corporate interests outside California. This is a well-respected staple of Carlsbad, which must remain intact. 2. After an exhaustive review, our own Carlsbad city council voted unanimously to support the 85/15 plan. This was after hearing from several Carlsbad residents. It would be best for Carlsbad not to sign the petition.

    • Jack O'Brian

      Something is obviously fishy here. Dianne Nygaard doesn’t live in Carlsbad and she is the outsider who is telling us to sign her petition to prevent what will truly be one of the nicest upscale malls in the State of California. And who is paying this jerk Don Burton to spew all these negative posts? Don Burton is a hater with absolutely no understanding of the facts and no desire to learn them. Caruso has the right to build out 48 acres of land and he is only going to use half of that for the mall. The other half will be preserved as natural habitat for all of us to enjoy and he is going to pay for it! There are very few developers in this country who would be so generous. I support this mall and can’t wait to take my children there. Unfortunately, the morons who scream the loudest and understand the least (like Don Burton) get too much attention.
      I agree with C.B. comments above.

      • Don Burton

        No one is paying me. I am doing this as a labor of love. I love democracy. What do you love? Sucking Caruso’s testicles? As for education, I have far more education that you ever will. I took the time to read EVERY document associated with this thing and I understand completely what is going on. I doubt you could make it past the title page. I only write this way so that morons like you can understand what I have to say. I’ll be out gathering signatures to put this on the ballot so that even cretins like you can vote. That is if are able to read the ballot measure. The next petition will be to recall the “impartial” Mayor and City Council. I’m guessing you work for one of them or are related to one of them. Which is it? Or do you just pick up after their dogs?

  • Tim VanKlaveren

    Did any of you supporters read the article? Do you agree with his tactics? Buying out the signature gathering firms? How about his people stalking the signature gathering locations and harassing people? I question the morals of anyone who believes that supressing the right to vote, suppressing our democracy is ok.

    And before anyone rebuts with the normal caruso propoganda “i believe in the council, why should the people vote?”, he promised a vote. He promised to pay. Had he not, i wouldnt be so opposed. His methods and lies are despicable. This is not the man i want building anything in our fine city. Its not the man i want my kids emulating. I teach my kids not to lie. Someone forgot to teach caruso.

    And please get over diane not living in carlsbad. We asked for her help. It wasnt the other way around. And again, I’ll list the names of all carusos people who don’t even live in the county.

    Oh….. and for all you jimmy supporters, please point out where in the initiative it says jimmy will be the farmer. 400 pages and not one mention of jimmy. A simple sentence would have done.

    Also, whos managing the open space? An environmental group? Thats what we’ve been told. Read the initiative. It’s just another clever lie.

    • Lisa

      Bravo Tim for your steadfast support. It’s hard to argue with talking heads that are merely quoting the marketing flyers that arrive daily in our mailboxes (seemingly word for word). I am more interested in finding out more about the political corruption in LA in relation to other Caruso projects, before he gets a blank check from Carlsbad. Just saying….

  • Denna Herald

    I have been a Carlsbad resident for over twenty years and after researching the 85/15 Lagoon Mall Project and how it will impact my beloved city I am in full support of the project. The project increases public access to one of Carlsbad’s ecological treasures, the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, a space that everyone should be able to enjoy.

    The 85/15 Lagoon Mall Project will also save Jimmy Ukegawa’s family strawberry farming business, a Carlsbad staple and right of passage for every elementary school kid who walks the fields and picks fresh strawberries straight from the vine. As a local this fact alone would be enough to support the project, without even considering the fact that the project will also improve the water quality of the lagoon and create a public space where the community can come together. I support the 85/15 Lagoon Mall Project and look forward to enjoying the mall, open space, and increased accessibility to the lagoon.that it creates.

  • Bob Miller

    I support this 85/15 development. I have resided in Carlsbad for many years. This mall with access to the lagoon will only help our community.
    The strawberry fields would only benefit from this mall.

  • John W.

    It’s pretty obvious that only 3 people on this thread are against the new mall and for all the wrong reasons. You can count me in with the Majority.
    I’m For it. Now let’s get that sucker built as soon as possible. :-)

    • Conrad

      Mr. Caruso said he would pay for the vote many times. Why is he trying to suppress the referendum? We in Carlsbad want to Vote on something that is going to have such a detrimental effect on our commute everyday. Let us Vote. The project is too big and to wrong for the Lagoon and Carlsbad. Sorrento Valley and Del Mar were successful in keeping these type big mall developers out, and they weren’t building on sensitive lagoon with threatened species. I hope Carlsbad is also. The noise, traffic, crime and pollution they bring is just too high of a cost.

    • Tim VanKlaveren

      I counted 12 before your post, although i did it quick. 3? Funny. Way to put the “caruso spin” on something so simple.

      Let us vote as promised. Had he not told us it was going to happen, i wouldn’t be objecting.

  • Lisa

    What he’s doing is called voter suppression. A mall on a lagoon is bad enough, but you attempt to block residents from the referendum process is pure evil, maybe even illegal? I hope residents now see him for who he is.

  • Jane

    The builder is using this initiative to bypass CEQA, this sets a very dangerous precedent. Environmental standards need to be strictly adhered to next to such a fragile ecosystem, such as Agua Hedionda Lagoon. He is also rezoning the property, it is not zoned for a 585,000 mega mall. Air quality standards set in 2009, by the City of Carlsbad will be exceeded by the increase traffic. Because of all the new housing development recently approved, our surface streets and highways will already be more impacted. Traffic on I-5 is a continuous challenge to commuters from Carlsbad and surrounding cities. In order to support this project major traffic improvements need to be made. Caltrans does not plan on improving I-5 until 2035. Do we really want confusing overpasses and underpasses like they have in Anaheim (Disneyland) and Los Angeles (The Grove). Mr. Caruso’s Grove property in LA receives over 1 million visitors a year. Do we need a 5-story parking garage next to a lagoon and our beaches? Isn’t the ecosystem too sensitive for this kind of development. We already have 12 malls in Carlsbad. As a Carlsbad resident for many years, I see no need for a Mega Mall in Carlsbad. A mall this size would urbanize the area and take away from the Village vibe. We would be paving over paradise, and Carlsbad would be lost in a smoggy haze.

    • John W.

      Who cares about the strawberry fields, you can grow pesticide laced strawberries anywhere, but you can’t grow another lagoon. Don’t be deceived by the false advertising call this plan what it is 37/63.

      • Norma H.

        You’re implying that the lagoon will somehow have to be regrown after this mall is built. That’s nonsense. The lagoon and its water will be enhanced. I support this project.

        • Beth

          As someone that has been in the environmental business for over 20 years, I can say with all certainty that this project will have a long lasting negative impact on this sensitive wetland area, species habitat, and the floral and fauna of this region. Please consider your decision carefully.

    • C.B. Ureste

      Sensitive wetlands???? Really Lisa??? You’ve obviously never seen the land. It is dried out fields of dust and dirt and as the other comments point out, it has sdge electric towers all over the place. This project is going to improve the area. Improve it.

      • Norma ray

        How can you support a 585,000 square ft mall (the size of 10 football fields) on a sensitive wetland habitat such as a lagoon. The air quality alone from the increased traffic emissions will harm and kill the threatened and endangered species. Read the air quality report, they will have to change their air-quality plan to accomidate this project. I want my children out playing at recess, not held inside because we are having a smog alert. Thousands of North County commuters sit in stop and go traffic everyday. This project along with new housing developments will clog our highways and surface streets. They are trying to greenwash this project, it just isn’t so. Yes, it is a sensitive wetland.

      • Carol

        The project site also has other constituents of concern, besides the high-voltage power lines. That is why the citizen’s want to Vote. Right now the developer used a loophole to bypass CEQA. If it is voted in we need to make the developer comply with CEQA and make sure it is cleaned up properly. I wouldn’t walk there now, especially with children or pets.

        • Will

          This project was conceived by outsiders. Carlsbad locals want their lagoon to stay as it is. Fix up Westfield mall if you want a mall. But stay away from by lagoons and beaches. Peace

      • Lisa P

        C.B. Yes it is a sensitive wetland area. It may not look that way to an unschooled eye, but to the wildlife that exists there they think it is just fine. Visit the wildlife centers and they can educate you further.

      • Jose M

        The high-powered electrical lines are there to stay into perpetuity. In fact everyone should always stay as far away from those lines. In Europe they don’t allow any buildings around these types of lines. That is why that area has stayed open space. We need those power corridors, we do not need a Mall on the Lagoon.

  • Kathleen

    Everyone has the right to their own opinion, thus we need a vote. Let the majority decide. I personally don’t like elected officials or a few people making a decision that affects so many. Why, why deny a vote?

  • Jp Turner

    Hey we are in a severe drought. Is this development necessary? I know we have been told to only water two times per week. This seems like a waste of precious resources.

  • Edward Dayrit

    As a small business owner this is a win win for all. At first, I was against it but after further review I realized that this will bring jobs, it will bring more tourist dollars in the community and it will help protect the surrounding environment, a perfect partnership if you will, win win!

    • Mark C

      As an I-5 commuter, I see this as a lose, lose. I will spend more time on the freeway and less time with my family.

        • Sam

          I was wondering are any other homeowners concerned how this is going to affect their views? I am wondering also about the lighting. It is a big mall. I don’t think Carlsbad needs another mall.

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