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|Planning Commission backs Legoland proposals
North County Times
Original Article »
December 06, 2007
CARLSBAD -- Kids who can't get enough of Legoland during the day could
have the option of an overnight stay at the Carlsbad amusement park
under a proposal that's now headed to the City Council.
option of hosting pirate-themed campouts, along with a second proposal
to speed the city approval process for any new rides at the park, won
approval from the city's Planning Commission in a 6-0 vote Wednesday
The City Council will review Legoland's plans early next
year, and the company also needs approval from the state Coastal
Commission because the park is within its coastal review region, city
Senior Planner Van Lynch said.
Legoland, which opened in 1999,
occupies a 128-acre parcel roughly bordered by Palomar Airport Road to
the south and Cannon Road to the north. Its main entrance comes in off
As they reviewed the park's proposals Wednesday,
commissioners remarked that the place, which takes its name from Lego
building blocks, was hugely controversial before it was built. People
said at the time that it give the city a trashy tourist look
reminiscent of the area around Disneyland. That's why city officials
mandated, among other things, that any new ride proposals go through
the city's extensive public hearing process, they said.
the years since the park has opened, Legoland's operations have
generated little controversy. Few people even come to the public
hearings for the new ride proposals, much less comment negatively.
Wednesday's event was typical -- one person from the public spoke, and
he said the overnight campouts sounded great and urged the city to jump
on the idea.
Commission Chairwoman Julie Baker said Legoland has
earned the right to have more flexibility when adding new rides.
Commissioner Bill Dominguez agreed that the park's history so far had
been good, but said he had concerns about the future because the park's
ownership changed in 2005.
The new owner -- Merlin
Entertainments Group -- is "really untested at this time," Dominguez
said, adding he believes the city made a promise to the community to
tightly control what happens at the park.
"I will lend my support, but I think those things need to be said," he added.
proposal to go before the City Council calls for a faster-track
approval process for new rides within the park's core 35-acre interior
-- the reviews would be handled at the city staff level rather than
going through a full-scale public hearing process. The change would
mean that projects such as the recently added pirate-themed water-play
region would not require a public hearing. However, adding something
like a huge roller coaster would trigger the public meetings, Lynch
Under the current restrictions, Legoland also hasn't been
allowed to have overnight guests. It's now asking for permission for a
campground program that could accommodate up to 275 people a night in
80 to 85 tents. Park general manager John Jakobsen said the nightly
campout sessions would mostly take place during the summer and would
only be open to amusement park visitors.