CARLSBAD — As the days tick down and the ballots begin to flow into City Hall, another Carlsbad resident is taking Measure A to task.
Eric Munoz, formerly of the city’s planning staff and two-term president of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, has publicly renounced the controversial plan.
The proposal, known as the 85/15 plan, aims to develop 26 acres for a luxury retail and entertainment mall, along with creating miles of hiking trails, increasing strawberry farming and fostering farm-to-table restaurants. The special election is Feb. 23, although mail-in ballots from the city were distributed last month and can be mailed back by the election.
Munoz, however, laid out his argument stating Proposition D, which was passed in November 2006, is being bypassed, and any lawsuits filed would have to be defended by the city along with public concerns from former planning commission chair, planning director and city attorney.
“True intelligence is knowing when to say no,” Munoz said in his statement. “Now Measure A provides that challenge to our community.”
The grassroots organization Citizens for North County, led by President De’Ann Weimer, applauded the endorsement.
“No one in this city is in a better position than Mr. Munoz to assess the potential impact of this proposed mega mall on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon,” Weimer said. “He knows the history of the lagoon, has fought for its preservation and has the technical expertise to understand the details of this proposal. Today, he has debunked suggestions that the trail improvements and other promises by Caruso Affiliated are enough to outweigh the unknowns created by this proposal. We hope Carlsbad voters listen to and heed Mr. Munoz’s concerns.”
Munoz also railed against the public beach access lease termination saying the public will be barred from the lagoon “via staff and city council action with no public recourse or action.”
He also slams the renderings for the potential mall, which is mostly funded by Caruso Affiliated, where no official concepts have been presented to the city for review.
“This stuns me,” he said. “For it verifies that the community has no specifics on the proposed development to provide a basis for their vote.”
Munoz continued by bashing the absent development agreement, an item critical for the development and operation of Legoland. In addition, he questions the benefits of the plan saying they are overstated as is using money to avoid “normal city process.”
As for the foundation, which voted to support the measure, Munoz said the group has good intentions because they support the development of a trail system. However, he said he could not support the group’s position “at the expense of realizing the reality of granting 15 years of sole control to a developer with a hand crafted specific plan that is not bound by a development agreement or functional equivalent.”