Carlsbad City Council approves Agua Hedionda Lagoon development - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Carlsbad City Council approves Agua Hedionda Lagoon development

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A land developer and supporters will hold a news conference Wednesday morning at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Discovery Center.

They'll be touting their victory after a controversial city council vote which has left critics furious.

It was a packed house at the Carlsbad City Council, as members voted unanimously to approve an outdoor shopping center overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Hundreds of opponents filled the meeting that spilled out onto the lawn outside.

The 26-acre open-air shopping center would be on the site of the strawberry fields East of Interstate-5. It would also include 176 miles of open space for hiking trails, strawberry farms, and picnic areas. It would be completed by 2019.

Critics were outraged that there was no public vote Tuesday night, saying, "Once ground breaks there's no turning back, " and "Shame on all of you guys, shame on you honestly."

"Is this too good to be true? No, it's too good to pass up," Rick Caruso, Caruso Affiliated said.

Critics claim many people were deceived into a petition drive that collected 9,800 signatures. They say it was backed by the developer in a nearly $3 million marketing campaign.

The California Coastal Commission has to approve the decision, where the public will have an opportunity to speak out again.

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