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Anaheim residents voice concerns over Disneyland's proposed development plans

Anaheim residents voice concerns over Disneyland's $1.9 billion development proposal
Anaheim residents voice concerns over Disneyland's $1.9 billion development proposal 03:00

Anaheim residents voiced their opinions over the proposed development plans that will expand Disneyland during a public forum on Wednesday. 

The open house was hosted at Anaheim City Hall, where people were encouraged to stop and ask questions about the DisneylandForward proposal — the $1.9 billion investment from Disney that could potentially turn a currently 50-acre parking lot near Harbor Boulevard into an area for new attractions, as well as replace the existing Hotel District and turn it into a combination of hotels and restaurants. 

All of the land under question is already owned by Disney, and the investment would go towards the theme park itself, lodging and entertainment, with an emphasis on bring ingmore shopping, dining and attractions to the surrounding area. 

A rendering of a potential theme park attraction that could replace the 50-acre Toy Story parking lot at Disneyland, part of the DisneyForward proposal to expand The Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland

On top of that, Disney must also pay the city more than $100 million for streets, parks and affordable housing. 

Currently, some activists say that the offer has $30 million slated for affordable housing, which they believe to be an extremely small amount compared to the $350 million allocated to an affordable housing complex that is planned for construction near Walt Disney World in Florida. 

Wednesday was the last chance that residents had to get their questions answered before Anaheim City Council members vote on the project at a meeting on April 16. 

City officials were met with plenty of people voicing their concerns on the matter regarding The Happiest Place on Earth, many of whom protested outside of the meeting. 

"We have trouble with the noise, the traffic. So, I can't imagine it being even closer," said Jeanine Robbins, who lives near the Toy Story parking lot where the new attractions could be built. 

The noise and traffic are just part of the issue that they say the project could bring.

"We're concerned about wages, the 15 million new tourists, the 14-thousand more low-wage employees, the streets that they're going to take," said Mike Robbins. 

A detailed map of the DisneyForward proposal.  Disneyland

The Project Impact Report found that it would create an increase in noise, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. 

"They're saying they're all going to be indoors, the ones closes to the houses," Jeanine Robbins said when discussing the new attractions. "It doesn't matter, I mean, the people, the tourists, everything. There's a noise issue."

On top of the attractions, a study on the project performed by Disney said that it could bring in up to $30 million in affordable housing within five years, $40 million for street upgrades and $8 million for parks. 

"Our city will grow. Our residents deserve good quality services; we need funding for that," said Anaheim City Spokesman Mike Lyster. "Tourism is our primary way to do that."

Not everyone at the meeting on Wednesday voiced opposition. 

"We need to bring more visitors to the park. More visitors to the park means more money for Anaheim," said Beverly Griggs. "That's a good thing."

Even if council members do approve the plan on Tuesday, it would be some time before construction got underway as the project has been planned over the span of four decades. 

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