Hopes dim for supporters of Carlsbad lagoon development

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SAN DIEGO – More of the remaining ballots for Carlsbad’s Measure A were counted Friday, and opponents of the proposed retail and dining center to be built along the shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon stretched their lead to 1,143 votes, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters reported.

The margin grew from 863 votes at the end of Thursday night’s tally in the special election, when about 3,500 ballots were uncounted.

With an additional 1,750 ballots counted, there were 19,425 “no” votes, or 51.5 percent, compared with 18,282 “yes” votes, or 48.5 percent.

There are approximately 2,250 provisional ballots still to be counted. Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said most of them will be tallied by the end of the work day Monday.

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

Caruso wants 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.