Developer Caruso says he had to do an end-run around the California Environmental Quality Act because CEQA is such a quagmire it makes it impossible to do anything.
A citizen-led initiative was the best way to get Carlsbad's approval for a proposal to build a lagoonside shopping, entertainment and open space destination, the developer of the project said Wednesday.And Carlsbad residents feel hoodwinked because they signed petitions believing they were supporting a public vote, but the initiative process allowed the council to approve the development without a public vote.
Rick Caruso, founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, said he chose the initiative process because he didn't want his unique plan to get bogged down in the legal quagmire that can happen with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Even though his Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan was designed to comply with CEQA, he said, the initiative process completely bypasses that state legislation.
CEQA makes it too easy for a competing developer to tie his project up with a lawsuit that, he said, even if he wins it, can be costly and time consuming.
Encinitas' Prop A would theoretically prevent such a large-scale development without a public vote here.