Not the happiest place on Earth

In these photos supplied by Disney, Harbor Boulevard outside Disneyland is shown circa 1992 (top), before the plan that protected the tourist district from inappropriate development. The other photo was taken recently, 12 years after the plan went into effect.

KAI RYSSDAL: Wall Street wasn't the only place where things were a little sour today. Disneyland is suing its hometown of Anaheim, California. The park wants to make sure no new housing goes up within two miles of its front door. Pat Loeb reports.


PAT LOEB: The fairy tale that Disney uses to describe its dispute with the city of Anaheim is the goose that laid the golden egg. Disney spokesman Rob Doughty says the suit is designed to protect the tourist district that drives Anaheim's economy.
ROB DOUGHTY: This area, which represents less than 5 percent of the land of Anaheim, contributes nearly half of the city revenues that pay for city services like fire and police.

Doughty says that a long-term plan the city developed 12 years ago prohibits new residential development in the area that surrounds the two Disney parks.

The Anaheim City Council was considering making an exception. The city is in desperate need of affordable housing. A local developer had proposed a complex that would have included 200 moderately-priced units.

The project went before the city council two weeks ago. Councilwoman Lucille Kring said she was moved by testimony in favor of the project from workers who serve the tourist trade.

LUCILLE KRING: We had people come up to the podium who said, "We can work here, we're good enough to work here, but we're not good enough to live here." And that's heartbreaking.

Kring had to abstain from voting because she plans to open a business in the tourist district. And the project failed to get enough votes to proceed.

However, Doughty says Disney's suit is necessary to prevent any future attempts to build housing in the tourist district.

In Los Angeles, I'm Pat Loeb for Marketplace.

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