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Lucasfilm rejects bid to restart N. Calif project
SAN RAFAEL, CALIF. (AP) - A company owned by George Lucas on Wednesday rejected a move by Marin County officials to persuade the filmmaker to resurrect a plan to build a massive film studio north of San Francisco.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution commending the "Star Wars" creator and calling on him to move forward with the controversial Grady Ranch project.
The panel pledged to help Lucasfilm Ltd. clear regulatory hurdles that could slow down its construction.
Nearly 30 speakers praised the studio project and contributions by Lucas to the community at the meeting, the Marin Independent Journal ( http://bit.ly/HStfyR) reported.
"George, I want to thank you for all you have done," declared Supervisor Judy Arnold, speaking at a camera used for the county's webcast. "Reconsider! Come back! Let's finish the Grady Ranch project!"
Board President Steve Kinsey said all the supervisors support the digital production compound that would generate tax revenue and hundreds of jobs. He said it would be approved if it came before the board.
Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynne Hale told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it was too late for the company to reconsider.
"We truly appreciate all the support but unfortunately it has come too late in the process," Hale said in an emailed statement. "It was not easy but at the end of the day we have business needs. We waited as long as we could."
Lucasfilm shocked Marin County last week when it announced it was abandoning the project, citing regulatory delays and fierce opposition from homeowners who fear the sprawling complex will lead to more noise, traffic and environmental problems.
The company said it hopes to sell the Lucas Valley property to a developer interested in building low-income housing. Officials said the company is in talks with two cities offering substantial incentives to build the studio.
Information from: Marin Independent Journal, http://www.marinij.com
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