San Diego continues environment study for new Chargers stadium

Wednesday July 8th, 2015

Officials for the city of San Diego say they are moving forward with efforts to complete environmental studies that are required for a public vote in January for a new stadium for the Chargers.

But Chargers officials, who ended stadium negotiations with the city last month, remain steadfast in their contention that there is no way a public vote can be held.

“Basically they said ‘it looks like you’re on a good track and we’ll discuss it further in late July,’” San Diego’s director of land use and environmental policy Mike Hansen said to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We haven’t had any further discussions since then, but we also weren’t expecting to.”

The Environmental Impact Report will include traffic studies and other factors that are needed to help get a stadium built. The EIR also described a 68,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to 72,000 seats for a Super Bowl.

That EIR must be approved by San Diego's City Council by Oct. 15 for the city to schedule a Jan. 12 public vote because of a California law requiring at least an 88-day time period between an issue being placed on a ballot and a public vote commencing.

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The Chargers have said it's impossible for the city to complete a thorough EIR by Oct. 15, adding that most environmental studies take up to 18 months to finish.

“We have made our position absolutely clear: We will not risk the future of the franchise on a quickie, half-baked EIR,” Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said.

NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman, who is the league’s point man on franchise relocations, has told city officials that “time is slipping away” on a stadium plan and would like to see the issue resolved well before a June 2016 primary.

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer revealed a financial plan earlier this year for a potential $1.4 billion stadium that called for $121 million each from county and city taxpayers and $225 million from selling city land at the current site of Qualcomm Stadium, which was opened in 1967.

Another $200 million for the stadium would come from the NFL.

The owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders met last week with Los Angeles and Carson, Calif., officials to discuss possible stadium deals involving both teams.

NFL owners are set for a meeting in August regarding the Los Angeles stadium situation, while St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a $1.86-billion, 80,000-seat NFL stadium on 60 acres of land adjacent to the Forum and Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

- Scooby Axson

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