No-growth activists forced the Newport Beach City Council Monday night to call a citywide referendum on the Irvine Co.'s general expansion plan, which includes the development of 518 acres surrounding Newport Center.
Following an announcement by City Clerk Wanda E. Raggio that the activists, known as Gridlock, had collected 5,856 valid signatures during a referendum petition drive, the council voted unanimously to hold a special election Nov. 25 rather than rescind its earlier approval of the plan.
The council's action was considered a victory by Gridlock members, who spent early August canvassing the city to gather more than 6,000 signatures.
The group exceeded the minimum 4,543 signatures--10% of the city's registered voters--needed to put the referendum on the ballot. According to the county registrar of voters, 968 signatures were declared invalid, but the extra signatures provided a large margin.