Mayor Kevin Faulconer said today that Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision that a proposed Mission Valley stadium project qualifies for expedited legal reviews is “a big step forward for the plan.”
The Chargers, however, contend the governor’s action is irrelevant.
If ratified by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the governor’s determination will require that any legal challenge to the Environmental Impact Report on the stadium project be resolved within about nine months of the city’s certification of the record of proceedings.
The mayor said that will keep the project on track for a 2019 opening.
“This gives our Mission Valley project more certainty and momentum,” Faulconer said.
“I thank the governor for supporting our efforts to create a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly and Super Bowl-ready stadium,” the mayor said. “I also appreciate the efforts of Speaker (Toni) Atkins, who was
instrumental in the Capitol.”
The Chargers have been asking for about 15 years for a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium, and city officials determined the current Mission Valley site was the best location.
The team, however, objected to an environmental study that was completed much faster than usual, contending that it won’t stand up to legal scrutiny.
Among other things, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the governor’s action doesn’t change the fact that the EIR is “fatally flawed” legally, nor does it include the time the state Supreme Court might need to review a legal challenge.
It also doesn’t protect the project against challenges on issues not involving the California Environmental Quality Act, Fabiani said.
Separately, a citizen’s initiative was announced today that would raise San Diego’s hotel room tax to 15.5 percent, permit hotel property owners to assess themselves to fund an expansion of the convention center, and allow for construction of a downtown stadium in conjunction with the expansion project.
It would also clear the way for a project to turn over the Qualcomm Stadium property to university and park uses, subject to approval by the City Council.
The initiative would be aimed at the June 2016 ballot, according to its supporters, who are associated with lawyer Cory Briggs and San Diegans For Open Government.
The convention center expansion project has been stalled since a court ruling that the hotel owners couldn’t add a charge to their room taxes to pay for the project without a public vote. The proposed initiative would resolve that issue.
Fabiani said he has no comment on the Briggs’ plan because he hasn’t read the ballot measure’s language.