Rarely has Disney failed to get its way on setting the tone for the area outside the gates to Disneyland and California Adventure. The housing dispute is one of those occasions.
When Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration recently closed, park officials turned their attention to their neighborhood, specifically to a 25-acre parcel between California Adventure and the area where a third park may someday be erected.
When Disney officials learned that a developer was planning to put in housing — including low-cost homes that park and hotel workers might use — they lobbied hard against the project. They called City Council members an hour before the meeting, spoke out against the plan at the meeting and later met privately with council members.
Councilman Richard Chavez said he was "disturbed" that Disney thought a last-minute phone call could influence his decision.
Disney officials said their attempts to derail the project were caused by the developer, SunCal Cos., "circumventing" the city's planning process, which includes environmental and traffic studies. The SunCal project, which would replace about 300 mobile homes, still has hurdles to clear before ground is broken.