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Fate of Rick Caruso’s Carlsbad Project To Be Decided Next Month


The fate of Rick Caruso’s proposed 203.4-acre retail promenade on Agua Hedionda Lagoon (pictured) in North San Diego County will be determined by the outcome of a ballot initiative.

Measure A is set for a vote Feb. 23. Caruso Affiliated plans to develop an outdoor retail-entertainment destination center, anchored by Nordstrom. The majority of the site, 176 acres, will be retained as open space, with three miles of trails for community use along the waterfront.

The Carlsbad City Council approved the project last August, but that decision was reversed by a citizens’ referendum launched by Citizens for North County, a volunteer group that opposes it, claiming it will create traffic, noise and pollution. The group also contends Caruso used a citizens initiative process to circumvent local planning regulations and the California Environmental Quality Act, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Caruso met with Carlsbad residents and community leaders for more than three years to publicize the plan and submitted a detailed independent study to the city in August, which was determined to conform to city and state standards.

Caruso Affiliated has dumped nearly $6M into the “Yes on Measure A” campaign, while the citizens’ group has reported only two contributions greater than $1k for “No on Measure A,” a $75k donation from Westfield Corp and $5k from a Carlsbad retiree.

The citizens’ group, however, is expected to step up its campaign over the next month and a half. Forty-eight acres of the undeveloped property, which is owned by San Diego Gas & Electric, has been zoned for commercial development since the 1980s, but Caruso plans to develop only 26 acres. [SDUT