Mayor meets with NFL executives over stadium plans
SAN DIEGO — City and county of San Diego officials met for three hours Tuesday with National Football League executives about a proposed stadium in Mission Valley to prepare for a presentation to franchise owners in less than two weeks.
At a news conference after the meeting, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the discussions covered a variety of topics, including the expedited environmental study being conducted on the site, a financing plan, the local economy and market conditions.
“We emphasized that San Diego is completing a full-blown environmental impact report, thoroughly drafted to the highest standards, prepared by dozens of top-notch environmental planners following a process that is supported by the foremost experts in California environmental law,” Faulconer said. “The environmental report is on schedule.”
The mayor said the first draft of the EIR is due to be released for public comment Aug. 10. The plan is to get the document approved by the City Council in October so the public can vote on a stadium plan in January.
The Chargers have been asking for a new stadium for nearly 15 years and have acquired land in Carson, in Los Angeles County, on which they could build a facility — perhaps in concert with the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers took action after the owner of the St. Louis Rams unveiled plans to build a stadium in Inglewood.
San Diego responded with a concept for a 65,000-seat facility that would be built next to the current Qualcomm Stadium.
Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ spokesman on stadium issues, objects to the faster timeline of the environmental report, which he says won’t be legally defensible. He declined comment after today’s meeting.
NFL Vice President Eric Grubman told The Mighty 1090 Radio that since the proposal is in a conceptual stage, there were no negotiations. He is in charge of the NFL efforts to return a team to the potentially lucrative Los Angeles market.
“I believe that all the teams looking at this are being very thorough in their own markets, and very thorough with respect to their alternatives,” Grubman said.
“And whether or not anybody brings a proposal forth for relocation, I think depends on variables which are still open, and the key variable is what’s going to happen in the home markets,” Grubman said.
Participants also discussed the presentation San Diego officials will make to NFL team owners Aug. 10 in Chicago, and initial design concepts for the stadium.
One of those in the meeting was Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who was there to show support from the state level, according to Faulconer.
“We want the Chargers to stay in San Diego if the right agreement can be reached,” Atkins said. “As I have said before, if an agreement is reached, I am committed to making sure San Diego can benefit from state legislation that is consistent with what other cities have received for their sports facilities.”
Several cities have received special legislation that limited legal challenges to the EIR.
The environmental study isn’t taking into account other development that could take place on the 166-acre stadium site once Qualcomm is torn down. The ancillary development was part of the revenue options proposed by a citizens advisory group, but is no longer part of the city-county financing proposal, according to the mayor’s office.
Opponents of the expedited EIR contend that further development of the surrounding land is a foreseeable consequence of the stadium project, and should be included in the document.
The stadium would not only host Chargers games, but San Diego State University contests, the Holiday and Poinsettia bowls, high school championships and special events.
Last month, Faulconer spoke by phone with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the city’s efforts to keep the Chargers, and a delegation representing the city and county met with NFL executives.