CARLSBAD — The endorsements keep coming for Caruso Affliated’s proposed mall project.
On Wednesday, seven current and former elected officials in North County gave their approval, according to a press release from Caruso Affiliated.
They include former Carlsbad councilmember Ramona Finnila, former Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks and former Oceanside councilmember Gary Felien. The current elected officials include Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, Vista Mayor Julie Ritter, Vista councilmember John Franklin and Oceanside councilmember Jerry Kern.
Proponents of Measure A also received a sizeable endorsement from Carlsbad Village businesses earlier this week.
In total, 15 proprietors signed on the to the Yes on Measure A campaign, according to a press release from Caruso Affiliated, the Los Angeles-based development firm funding much of the support.
Measure A, otherwise known as the 85/15 plan, would allow for development on 26.7 of the 203 acres of land between the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and Cannon Road.
The businesses include The Barrio, Board and Brew-Carlsbad, Carlsbad Chocolate Bar, Flippin’ Pizza, Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, Knockout Pizza, Paon, Gaia Gelato, Paradise Pizza, Paradise Market, Señor Grubby’s, The UPS Store-Carlsbad Village Faire, Witch Creek Winery, Wysh Boutique, and 83 Degrees.
“We are honored to partner with Carlsbad Village businesses to bring Measure A’s many benefits to this community after nearly four years of gathering input and working together to develop a plan that fits the fabric of the community,” said Rick J. Caruso, founder and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated. “We are especially excited about bringing transportation enhancements that the city’s own experts say will improve traffic flow throughout Carlsbad.”
The new haul of endorsements is on the heels of the Carlsbad Firefighters union announcing its support last month. Also in support are the Carlsbad Strawberry Company, Chamber of Commerce and former council members Ann Kulchin and Julie Nygaard.
“Rick Caruso and his committed team are working closely with the businesses in the Carlsbad Village to develop a mode of transportation, perhaps a trolley, that will easily transport people back and forth from the promenade to the Village and to the surrounding hotels, so visitors can have easy access to the Village,” said Greg Nelson, owner of Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant. “Yes on Measure A will be the tide that lifts all boats.”
As for Measure A, a special election will be conducted Feb. 23.
Caruso Affiliated’s plan is to develop the 26 acres into a high-end retail and entertainment hub anchored with a Nordstrom’s. In addition, if passed, the plan would allow public access on 176 acres of open space, while adding an additional 30 acres for strawberry farming.
Opponents, meanwhile, forced the issue on to the ballot after a successful referendum in October. They have railed against the circumvention of the California Environmental Quality Act, increased traffic and congestion on Cannon Road and Interstate 5 and concerns of development on the land, in addition to developing the area, to name a few.
The city council approved the special election in November and has been estimated to cost the city between $450,000 and $550,000.
This story has been updated since its original posting.