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Croatia's referendum on golf project fails

Monday - 4/29/2013, 8:06am  ET

WITH STORY CROATIA GOLF REFERENDUM - Dubrovnik old town is pictured from Srdj, the hill above the city, Friday, April 26, 2013. The residents of this scenic Croatian Adriatic sea resort will decide hold a referendum on Sunday April 28, 2013, whether to allow the 1.1-billion euros ($1.4 billion) golf park development project on the hill above the city that many claim endangers their ancient city, often dubbed the Pearl of the Adriatic, and the outcome could have serious consequences on the future of foreign investments in Croatia. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

DUSAN STOJANOVIC
Associated Press

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (AP) -- A landmark referendum held in Croatia has failed to derail plans for the construction of a large golf complex that could change the face of the ancient walled tourist resort of Dubrovnik.

Officials said Monday the referendum failed because only 31 percent of Dubrovnik voters cast their ballots Sunday. The official requirement for the vote to be valid is at least a 50-percent turnout.

The result meant that the 1.1-billion-euro ($1.4 -billion) golf course designed by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman -- which includes villas, hotels, tennis courts, a horse-riding club and restaurants -- will be built on the rocky Srdj hill above the historic town.

"Golf will be played on Srdj after all," said Maja Frenkel, the head of Razvoj Golf, the main Israeli investor group behind the project.

The referendum was only the third such vote in Croatia after it
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