Carlsbad City Council approves development near strawberry fields

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CARLSBAD, Calif. —The Carlsbad City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass a proposed shopping center near the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad.

The project, deemed the Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan, was debated for six hours before council members decided it was “to good to pass up.”

For the last three years, billionaire Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso, responsible for the Grove and the Americana shopping centers in Los Angeles, has had his sights set on developing the 200 acres of land south of the lagoon near the strawberry fields. The land is on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, a 400-acre coastal wetland in Carlsbad. For years, residents have had limited access to it.

Bryce Ross, vice president of development group Caruso Affiliated, claims the project would preserve 85 percent of the land — 176 acres — as open space while developing the remaining 15 percent.

The plan will also ensure miles of new hiking trails and picnic areas. Revenue from the proposed shopping center would pay for maintenance of the open space.

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