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O.C. Board Orders Study of Costs of Park at El Toro Site

November 07, 2001|JEAN O. PASCO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County supervisors Tuesday ordered a full analysis of the impact of building a large urban park in the heart of the county in anticipation of a March vote on whether the park should replace plans for a airport at the closed El Toro Marine base.

Board Chairwoman Cynthia P. Coad said voters should know how much the operation and maintenance of a sprawling park and university complex would cost. The study should also examine the county's "ability to retain business and employment" if the park is built, she said.

The 30-day study by the auditor-controller's office was approved on a unanimous vote. It will be presented to supervisors Dec. 4--three days before the board could be required to place the park initiative on the March ballot.

Airport foes have accused the board's pro-airport majority of stalling on placing the park initiative on the ballot. The county registrar of voters already has certified that enough signatures were collected to place the measure before voters--as long as a panel of appellate judges in San Diego agrees.

The judges will consider the matter at a Nov. 16 hearing. An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled this summer that the initiative's title and summary were misleading, voiding the signature petitions. If the appellate judges overturn that ruling and allow the measure to go to voters, it would have to be certified by the county by Dec. 7.

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