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Fairgrounds’ land use goes to a vote

It will cost the city up to $136,794 to put the issue on the June ballot.

February 15, 2010|By Mona Shadia

The Costa Mesa City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday to authorize placing the issue of the land use of the Orange County Fairgrounds on the June ballot as a special city election. A ballot initiative would seek to preserve the 150-acre property for the fair and exposition uses.

“This is a major step in the right direction,” said Councilwoman Katrina Foley. “It’s just one of the tools we have to preserve the site for the fairgrounds uses.”

Placing the land use of the fairgrounds on the June ballot is estimated to cost the city between $112,267 and $136,794.

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During the same meeting, the City Council is also scheduled to approve the final reading of the amendment to the fairgrounds’ general plan, which was revised to include language that ensures that the property would continue to serve as the home of the county’s annual fair. The amendment would also prohibit future owners from developing the fairgrounds into a shopping center or a residential community. The amendment’s language would appear on the June 8 ballot.

The state’s plan is to liquidate high-valued properties to help plug a hole in California’s budget deficit.

The California Legislature voted to sell the fairgrounds in July, and the California Department of General Services put it on the market in October.

The state was hoping to make between $96 million and $180 million from the sale.

Although the fairgrounds was auctioned off at $56.5 million to Newport Beach-based Craig Realty Group, an outlet developer, the fairgrounds is not yet sold.

The Department of General Services is reviewing the bid to see if it’s beneficial to the state and is expected to make a decision by April.

The council meets at 6 tonight in Council Chambers, City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.


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