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$134-Million Development : El Segundo Voters Will Decide Future of Controversial Project

February 22, 1987|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO — Voters will decide Tuesday whether to uphold the City Council's approval of a controversial 1.1-million-square-foot office and retail development.

A second ballot measure in the special election asks voters if increased business registration fees on certain businesses should be continued.

Absentee Ballots

A spokeswoman for the city clerk's office did not have a voter turnout prediction, but she said 500 absentee ballots had been received as of late last week, an "unusually high number." There are 9,155 registered voters in the city.

Eileen Hunter, an assistant to the city manager, said the ballot measure asking whether business fees should be increased is required under a state measure approved by voters in November requiring voter approval for increases of any municipal taxes or fees imposed as of August, 1985.

No argument against the measure was submitted for the sample ballot.

There are many arguments over the other ballot measure, which asks voters if Continental Development Corp. should be allowed to go forward with its $134-million project.

A citizens' organization, Group United for Residential Rights, last September collected 2,208 petition signatures, more than twice the number needed for the referendum. The City Council could have consolidated the referendum ballot with November's county election, but decided to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

The residents' group said the development at Rosecrans Avenue and Aviation Boulevard would drain city services and aggravate traffic problems.

Suit Unsuccessful

Proponents of the project say it will improve the aesthetics of what is considered the city's eastern gateway and will actually improve traffic flow because of conditions imposed on it.

Continental had filed suit to invalidate the referendum, arguing that council approval of the project was an "administrative act" not subject to referendum. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld the referendum.

The two sides also accused each other of submitting "false and misleading" information for the sample ballot, but a private attorney acting as a mediator concluded that neither side did and the information was included in ballot arguments.

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