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Local News in Brief : Cypress : Cypress Downs Project OKd; Ballot Test Next

The Cypress City Council has voted by a 4-1 margin to approve plans for a 167-acre business park next to the Los Alamitos Race Course. The action sets up a special election at which voters will decide how the land will be used.

The special, citywide election was scheduled for Feb. 14. It is expected to be hotly contested between foes of the project, who argue that the city should not parcel away one of the largest remaining open spaces in north Orange County, and supporters, who contend that the development will benefit the city.

The Cypress Downs project would include a 55-acre mixed-use business park, a 46-acre professional office complex, a six-story hotel, retail shops and offices. Two churches have tentatively agreed to purchase about 30 acres of the land for new facilities.

The developers, SDC Developers of Newport Beach, agreed in May to buy a 300-acre parcel, including the 140-acre race track and vacant land, from Hollywood Park Realty Enterprises for $100 million.

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However, the proposed sale is contingent on approval by voters of the Cypress Downs project. If the sale goes through, Hollywood Park would continue to operate the race track on a lease-back arrangement.

Voter approval of the development is required under a city ordinance passed last November that restricts zoning changes on public or semipublic lands.

An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled the measure invalid in May, but the city has appealed the decision.


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