Special election set for Carlsbad lagoon development

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – The Carlsbad City Council voted Tuesday night to hold a special election on Feb. 23 for the proposed plan to build an upscale retail and dining center that would overlook the Hedionda Lagoon.

The controversial “85/15” plan to build an outdoor shopping mall at the sight of the historic strawberry fields in Carlsbad will be put on the ballot at the cost of $500,000.

The group Citizens for North County formed to oppose the plan by Los Angeles developer Caruso Affiliated that would develop the center but also preserve 85 percent of about 203 acres that has been used for decades to grow strawberries. Last month, opponents of the plan announced they had collected enough valid petition signatures to put the plan to a public vote.

The City Council was cornered with a ballot initiative, forcing them to make a decision Tuesday to do one of three things: rescind their support for project, set a date for a special election or set the election on the November general election ballot. Opposition leaders pushed for the election to be held Nov. 8, 2016, while supporters successfully advocated for the special election to be held Feb. 23, 2016.

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