Carlsbad City Council certifies special election results

CARLSBAD — Officially, it is over.

The City Council on Tuesday certified the election results for the special election regarding Measure A, the controversial proposal that was defeated 52 percent to 48 percent in February.

Nearly one month later, however, the topic is still of contention with residents, especially those who opposed the measure. Residents filled the council chambers to voice their displeasure with the council and their staunch support of the proposed luxury retail center on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

The project was created by Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated, which spent nearly $10.5 million to support the measure in the most expensive election in San Diego County history.

According to San Diego Gas & Electric Senior Communications Manager Stephanie Donovan, the utility had a contract with Caruso Affiliated subject to certain contingencies. Since Measure A failed, the property is still in contract with Caruso Affiliated, Donovan said.

Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated still has the option of proposing a project on that land within the agreed terms of the contract.

“Among those contingencies was that, if Mr. Caruso did not move forward with the proposed development, the property would revert to ‘status quo’ for now,” she said.

Donovan said there are no other immediate plans for the land and the remainder of the property would continue to be designated open space, should Caruso  not propose any further projects.

Leaders of the No on A campaign, however, continued to rail against the plan during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Thank you to this community, to the almost 40,000 residents who mailed in their ballots or ventured into the polls to vote,” President of Citizens for North County De’Ann Weimer said. “Now we are here on the first week of spring to talk about restoration and renewal. How we restore our confidence in our elected leaders, how we are reborn as a united community.”

Weimer said three steps are needed, which include two concerning the land and the third accountability and prevention.

She proposed a post Prop D citizens committee to forge a plan that would fast track creation of trails and park land, and the immediate withdrawal of all elements of the General Plan designed to facilitate the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan.

“We need to repair what was lost in this four year romance with this developer,” Weimer said. “We need to know how this relationship evolved. Because of this conduct, our city hall and city staff are no longer a trusted source for impartial information.”

While some railed against the council and city staff, others offered pleas of reconciliation and healing.

“I have made an effort to get to know every member of the City Council,” said resident Valerie Lindholm. “I know the decision you made was difficult. I still feel the decision you made was the right decision for Carlsbad. I supported you then, I support you now and will support you in the future.”

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