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Measure to control Disney zoning is nearer to ballot

Times Staff Writer

Dismissed as farfetched by its detractors last month, a proposed initiative that would give Anaheim voters zoning control over Disney’s planned third theme park appears to be gaining momentum.

Bob Hernandez became the second Anaheim City Council member to publicly support the initiative, which needs three votes to be placed on the ballot without collecting voter signatures.

If the measure makes the ballot, it could join two Disney-backed ballot measures, an initiative and a referendum, aimed at keeping housing out of the neighborhood surrounding Disneyland and California Adventure.

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who expressed support for the initiative last month, asked city staff last week to begin a process that would allow the council to vote on it next month. Hernandez said he generally did not approve of ballot measures but saw the logic in an initiative asking voters to approve any new zoning on 53 acres of Disney property, currently strawberry fields and employee parking.

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The third vote on the proposal could come from Lucille Kring, who was the swing vote in April when the council approved zoning to allow a planned 1,500-unit residential project that would sit across Katella Avenue from a proposed third theme park.

“I don’t like doing business like this,” she said. “But I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Supporters of the initiative are backed by SunCal Cos., developer of the controversial residential project. The Disney-supported initiative, which supporters say has gathered enough signatures for the ballot, seeks to bar new housing in the resort district unless voters approve it. The measure wouldn’t require voter approval for Disney’s commercial ventures.

The second Disney-backed ballot measure is a referendum that asks voters to repeal the April council decision that paved the way for the condo and low-cost apartment project. Though the measure has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the council has twice postponed voting on the issue so that the housing developer and Disney could settle their differences. Last week, Disney announced that a compromise could not be reached.

If the anti-Disney measure wins council approval, it would save supporters the time and expense of collecting some 14,000 petition signatures required to get it on ballot.

Councilman Harry Sidhu said he did not have enough information on the initiative over the 53-acre Disney property to decide how he would vote, but said he expected it to pass.

If the initiative wins council and voter approval, the Disney property’s zoning -- agricultural and parking -- would be frozen without a citywide vote. Disney bought the farming property nearly 10 years ago, but company officials have not disclosed specific plans for the parcel. It is conceivable that both initiatives could pass, in which case voters would have control over housing in the 2.2-square-mile resort district and over any development on Disney’s property.

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david.mckibben@latimes.com


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