The effort to build a mall near the beloved strawberry fields in Carlsbad got an extra boost in December.
The development is proposed for the south shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Caruso, who built the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, is calling its plan the Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan because 176 acres of the land will be designated as open space.
The company successfully bypassed the California Environmental Quality Act review because it received more than 15 percent of supporting signatures from Carlsbad’s registered voters. The project was approved by the City Council in August but opponents successfully filed a referendum — causing city leaders to put the measure up for a public vote.
Opponents of the project, Citizens for North County, received $75,000 from Westfield Corp., which had its own mall in Carlsbad until it was sold in late 2015.
The measure will go before the voters in a special election on Feb. 23.