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Anaheim rescinds backing for housing near Disneyland

Times Staff Writer

The Anaheim City Council voted late Tuesday to withdraw its support of a controversial housing project near Disneyland. The 3-2 decision overturned a vote taken seven months ago to approve zoning for a 1,500-unit residential project including 225 low-cost apartments.

The issue had pitted Disney and tourist officials against housing advocates and some religious leaders. It also attracted national and international media attention, spawned three lawsuits, three ballot measures, threats of a recall and regular City Hall protests.

The proposed housing project began unraveling this month when Councilwoman Lucille Kring announced she would no longer support it. Kring said her switch was prompted by news that the deal between developer SunCal Cos. and owners of the 26-acre parcel at Katella Avenue and Haster Street had fallen through.

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, the project’s most ardent backer, had also planned to withdraw her support of zoning that allowed housing in the 2.2-square-mile area, but changed her mind over the weekend.

Disney spokesman Rob Doughty said: “We’ve always been about protecting the long-term vision of the resort area. We’re pleased the council listened to the people of Anaheim, who also believed in that vision.”

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The council’s reversal removed a Disney-backed referendum from the June ballot that would have challenged the earlier zoning change. Another side-effect of Tuesday’s vote may be the dropping of a Disney lawsuit aimed at blocking the project.

But the debate over whether housing belongs in the resort district is far from over. Disney supporters are pushing forward with a June ballot initiative enabling voters to block construction there. Two projects potentially affected are a proposed 449-unit condo high-rise complex, and a plan including a 75-room boutique hotel and 191 condominium units on the site of a closed Toys R Us store.

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david.mckibben@latimes.com


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