CARLSBAD (CBS 8) - A big win for opponents of the Agua Hedionda development in Carlsbad, after enough signatures were gathered, potentially giving voters a say on the multi-million dollar plan.
Supporters of the 85/15 Agua Hedionda project said the development would give them public access, just like the beaches.
Opponents said they have enough fight in them now that the council has to decide to scratch the project, or leave it to voters to decide in the 2016 General Election.
"Bravo. Bravo, bravo to all volunteers who worked so hard to gather enough signatures for a referendum," said Rosanne Bentley.
On Tuesday, the Carlsbad City Council approved certifying 8,000 signatures to reverse the approval of the so-called anti-Caruso development project that would build a Nordstrom, shopping, and restaurants on 26-acres.
"We can have that whole entire space, open space and that is not a place for a mall. We have plenty of malls around Carlsbad. I don't think you'll find anyone that says - I really need a mall in my life," said Amanda Mascia, an 85/15 opponent.
Earlier this year, the developer gained enough signatures and the unanimous approval of the City Council. Opponents argue shady tactics were used to get people to sign the petition.
"People stood up there and said that we signed petitions that we did not know what we were signing. That is an insult," said Peggy Moote, a supporter of the development.
The development would dedicate 175 acres, or 85 percent, as open space. This would include keeping the strawberry fields.
The City Council now has to decide whether to put the development plan on the ballot for voters to decide or reject the plan all together.
The City Council had no comment for this story, but is expected to make a final decision on November 17.
A special election would cost up to a half-a-million dollars, and it is still being determined how much it would cost for the 2016 General Election.
The developer Rick Caruso in a statement said:
"We respect the outcome of the signature verification and are confident the plan is supported by the majority of Carlsbad residents."