Calabasas : Referendum Delayed for Park Centre

The Calabasas City Council has postponed setting a referendum election for a controversial retail and commercial center, saying it must first resolve a key, precedent-setting legal question.

Last year the council approved the 1.3-million-square-foot Calabasas Park Centre at Calabasas Road and Parkway Calabasas. In July, homeowners opposed to the project turned in the 1,152 signatures required to force a referendum.

Voters would be asked to reject or uphold the city's original development agreement, said City Attorney Casey Vose.

While the referendum would not mention conditional-use permits granted by the city for a 200,000-square-foot retail center at the site, Vose said the validity of the permits would pose a legal question if voters rejected the development agreement.

"This has never happened before," said Vose. "This whole thing is precedent setting."

The council last week asked Vose to file a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court asking for an opinion on the conditional-use permits.

The deadline has passed for placing a referendum on the November ballot. But city officials said an election in March could be scheduled. Dec. 29 is the deadline for that election, they said.

Meanwhile, Steve Sklar, a spokesman for the referendum group, said his group was "surprised that the council did not act on it sooner. But that's their prerogative."

His group says the council ignored the concerns of community residents when it approved the project.

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