Carlsbad ‘Measure A’ Developer admits defeat to ‘No on A’ supporters

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Monday 3:40 p.m. – The County of San Diego Registrar of Voters released an updated vote count Monday afternoon:
NO     20,362 (51.99%)
YES   18, 806 (48.01%)
According to the registrar, approximately 300 votes remain to be counted. The registrar has up to 30 days to certify the election results. Once certified by the registrar, the Carlsbad City Council will certify the results at its next regularly scheduled City Council meeting. 
What’s Next?
The ordinance approving the plan will be rescinded 10 days following the election certification by the City Council.

The land use designations will remain as they were Monday, with visitor-serving commercial development allowed on 48 acres and the other 155 designated for open space.

At any time, Caruso Affiliated could submit the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan, or another plan, to the city via the traditional development process, which includes California Environmental Quality Act analysis and review by the California Coastal Commission.

The City Council may not approve an ordinance for the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan for 12 months following its certification of the election results.

If Caruso Affiliated terminates its contract with SDG&E to purchase the land, another party could purchase any or all of the property, at the discretion of SDG&E, the current landowner.

"No on A" campaign thanks volunteers, voters for successful campaign
"We are so grateful to the hundreds of volunteers and the thousands of Carlsbad voters who made the difference in defeating Measure A," said De’Ann Weimer from Citizens for North County, the group responsible for the successful campaign against development of a mega-shopping mall on the shores of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

"Carlsbad voters saw through nearly $11 million the developer spent promoting his project.  We prevailed with a grassroots campaign that relied on volunteers motivated only by a desire to protect our open space, our lagoon, our coastline, and the integrity of our city’s planning process," said Weimer.

"The message from Carlsbad voters is that it’s not okay to sidestep our city’s general plan, zoning regulations and planning process that have made this such a wonderful place to live.  I hope we never again see an attempt to exploit loopholes in local and state law to ram through an inappropriate project." she said.

"We feel our city council was out of touch with the community, and we invite the city to move forward with us now in a cooperative manner," Weimer said. "We look forward to residents coming together around the values that have historically shaped our city – careful planning and community involvement – to move our city forward," she said.

"We are also grateful for the professionalism of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters throughout this process," she added.

"On a personal note, I can’t adequately express the gratitude I feel to the volunteers who gave so much of their time and talent to our effort.  You will go down in the history of our city as true heroes, and you will always have my respect and admiration," she said.

10:35 a.m. – Rick Caruso, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Caruso Affiliated, the company who wanted to build a shopping center near Carlsbad’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon, conceded defeat Monday to opposition supporters by calling and congratulating leaders of the ‘No on A’ campaign.

The following statement was released on behalf of Caruso at 10:34 a.m. Monday:

“I have called the leadership of the Citizens for North County and congratulated them on their hard fought campaign. 

This was a close election with a historically strong voter turnout on both sides. Both sides share a common love for their Carlsbad community, a sentiment we share.

While we had hoped for a different outcome, we are proud of our effort, our plan, the integrity of our message, and we are thankful for the great friends and supporters we have made over the past four years.  We are very grateful for their support and hard work.” 

Caruso Affiliated currently controls 15 percent of 203 acres near Interstate 5 and Cannon Road and had intended to build the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan using parts of that area after the plan was approved by Carlsbad City Council in 2015. Opponents, however, collected enough petition signatures to force a public vote, which started on Tuesday, February 23rd, and is currently awaiting a finally tally of 2,250 remaining mail/provisional ballots.

The results of those remaining 2,250 ballots are expected to be released Monday evening, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

Saturday – The latest results from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters show that approximately 2250 mail/provisional ballots as of election night still need to be counted.

A spokesperson from the Registrar of Voters told KUSI news to expect the next, and reportedly final, update of vote count to be released Monday evening.

As of Friday night, the vote tally currently stands as follows:

Total Votes: 37,707
Yes: 18,282 (48.48%)
No: 19,425 (51.52%)

Of the 2250 provisional ballots remaining, ‘Yes on A’ supporters would need to capture exactly 1,697, or 75.42% of the votes to overturn the City Of Carlsbad’s Special Municipal Election. ‘No on A’ advocates would need only 554 votes counted in their favor, or 24.62% to keep the decision as it stands.

Check back for Monday’s updates.

Friday 6:00 p.m. – As of Friday afternoon, the results show 51.2 voted "no," while 48.4 voted "yes."

The plan calls for building a shopping and entertainment district on part of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, preserving the rest for hiking trails and the strawberry fields.

There are still about 1,000 mail and provisional ballots to be counted.

With the amount of money spent by the "Yes Campaign," not many people expected the "no vote" to be this strong.

Erik Staley, with the "No On Measure A" campaign, sat down with KUSI with reaction to the latest numbers. 

Thursday 5:00 p.m. – The San Diego Registrar of Voters have released an updated vote count, accounting for ten percent of the total votes:

Total Votes: 36,453
Yes: 17795 (48.82%)
No: 18658 (51.18%)

Tuesday 11:25 p.m. – Per the San Diego Registrar of Voters, the City of Carlsbad’s voters are leaning slightly further towards no on Measure A. The difference between sides was separated by 186 votes:

Total Votes: 33,268
No: 16,727 (50.28%)
Yes: 16,541 (49.72%)

The Registrar of Voters is reporting that there are approximately 7,100 Mail/Provisional ballots still to be counted, and those votes will determine the winner.

11:00 p.m. – As of late Tuesday night, the City of Carlsbad’s Measure A voting has become a tight race to the finish. Of the 30,619 total votes accounted for, nearly half of voters have voted ‘No’ on Measure A with the other half voting ‘Yes’. The results account for 47 of 60 precincts, or 78.3%:

Total Votes: 30,619
Yes: 15,536 (50.74%)
No: 15,083 (49.26%)

10:30 p.m. – According to the San Diego Registrar of Voters, 23 of the 60 Carlsbad precincts have been accounted for. The current vote count stands as follows:

Total Votes: 26,381
Yes: 14,004 (53.08%)
No: 12,377 (46.92%)

10:10 p.m. – The San Diego Registrar of Voters have released an updated vote count, accounting for ten percent of the total votes:

Total Votes: 24,380
Yes: 13,146 (53.92%)
No: 11,234 (46.08%)

These voting results fully account for 6 of the 60 precincts.

8:00 p.m. – The polls from Measure A have officially come to a close.

The election results from the San Diego Registrar of Voters are still coming in, but the unofficial absentee voter results have been reported as the following:

Total Votes: 23,415
Yes: 12,813 (54.72%)
No: 10,602 (45.28%)

10:00 a.m. – The fate of a proposed retail and dining development on the shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon will be decided by Carlsbad residents Tuesday in a special election.   

The center planned by Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated has drawn opposition from environmental groups.   

Caruso plans to build on 15 percent of the 203-acre property and leave the rest as open space. A popular family-owned U-pick strawberry farm alongside
Interstate 5 would be allowed to remain in operation.   

The plans were approved last year by the Carlsbad City Council, but opponents are concerned about the size of the proposed buildings and worsening
traffic congestion. Those in opposition collected enough petition signatures to force it to a public vote.   

"Voting Yes on Measure A will provide miles of trails in newly accessible open space. 176 acres for passive use at no cost to taxpayers, where students will have more opportunities to learn," said Maureen Simons, chairwoman of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation.   

"Today, when we need more teaching space for nature programs than the limited space available, students and instructors gather on a gravel-covered
parking area" Simons said. "Voting Yes on Measure A means there will be a wonderful outdoor classroom built on private land that will finally be accessible to all of Carlsbad, after having been off-limits to the public for decades."   

At a recent forum, Bridget Larson Wright, a lifetime resident of Carlsbad, countered that the center would bring in six times the amount of traffic as
the nearby Legoland California Resort.   

"This project is not being built for the citizens of Carlsbad," Wright said. "It is being built for tourists."   

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said 59 polling places will be set up around Carlsbad. Voters who haven’t returned their mail ballots can drop them
off at a polling place or at the Registrar’s Office, 5600 Overland Ave. in Kearny Mesa.

Monday – The Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan was proposed May 12, 2015, by three Carlsbad residents through a citizen-led initiative sponsored by Caruso Affiliated. The plan would change land uses changes on a 203.4 acre privately owned property located east of I-5, between the south shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and Cannon Road. 

The major land use changes being proposed are:

  • Reduce the amount of land where visitor-serving commercial development is allowed from 48.3 acres to 26.7 acres.
  • Increase the amount of land designated as permanent open space from 155.1 acres to 176.7 acres.

The plan includes provisions to guarantee continued strawberry farming and coastal agriculture, preserve and maintain natural habitat, and provide and maintain publicly accessible trails and open space. The visitor-serving commercial development includes open air shopping, dining, entertainment and recreational uses.

Categories: Local San Diego News