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Now, here's a conflict: downsizers versus developers spar

Indeed, an ongoing spat in a Southern California community between opponents of a development project and a company that wants to start moving earth as soon as possible is, as noted by a writer covering it in a media piece, "especially interesting."

The locale is Calabasas, and the conflict is centered on a building project narrowly approved by that municipality's city council that contemplates a planned community of 70-plus homes and a large hotel. The two sparring groups are the New Home Company and a local grassroots advocacy organization called Save Malibu County.

The latter entity is seeking to gain a sufficient number of signatories to override the council's 3-2 vote favoring project development. If Save Malibu can garner 1,500 signatures, the matter will be become a ballot referendum topic this November. If that happens, notes the above-cited media piece, council members "can either rescind their approval or refer the vote to election."

The contest has become decidedly rancorous. One Calabasas official says that site development of some sort will absolutely happen and that the deal reached with New Home "is absolutely the best project we could hope for on this site."

Activists strenuously disagree with that view. They say that the council's approval of the development was starkly at odds with what most local residents want, which is retrained building and the overall preservation of existing open space. And they add that New Home representatives are proactively engaging in behaviors aimed at thwarting signature collection.

"The city council needs to listen to our priorities," says one opponent of the hotel-and-homes project.

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