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El Segundo Voters Reaffirm Big Project

Election: Approval of two measures allows a 46-acre development of office, hotel, retail and restaurant space to proceed. City Council has already given OK.

June 19, 2002|SANDRA MURILLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a special referendum Tuesday, El Segundo residents reaffirmed the City Council's approval of a 46-acre development project, according to final vote totals.

The two measures involving the plan's environmental impact report and the project itself passed with 67% of the vote.

The El Segundo Corporate Campus project calls for about 1.6 million square feet of office space, with hotel, retail and restaurant development on land next to Nash Street near the Century Freeway.

In a unanimous vote in January, city leaders approved the proposal by developer Thomas Properties, saying it would be an economic boon for El Segundo and allow the city to purchase a much-needed playing field at a lower price.

But a group of residents called Citizens Against Gridlock in El Segundo gathered enough signatures in March to force Tuesday's election.

Their major qualms have to do with traffic, safety and economics.

They say some language in the project's fine print makes it financially questionable for the city.

"There are so many things that Thomas says they'll give us that aren't guaranteed," said Brian Crowley, chairman of Citizens Against Gridlock.

The group also sued the city, saying it failed to implement a required traffic plan before approving the development.

Kilroy Realty, which owns several buildings next to the site, has spent about $460,000 to help Citizens Against Gridlock in its fight.

Thomas has spent about $425,000 since January on its own campaign for the development.

Even though the referendum reaffirms the council's decision, Thomas cannot move forward until the lawsuit is settled.

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