Backers behind SoccerCity proposal collect enough valid signatures for City Council approval
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The group behind the proposed SoccerCity development collected enough valid petition signatures to require the San Diego City Council to either consider approving the Mission Hills project or placing it before voters, the city clerk reported Monday.
The developers, led by La Jolla-based FS Investors, needed nearly 72,000 valid signatures to force council action.
According to the city clerk’s office, a sampling of 3 percent of the 108,000 signatures submitted last month resulted in a projection that well over 81,000 would be valid, or 110 percent of the required total.
"We’re excited, but not surprised by this announcement," said Nick Stone, partner with FS Investors and project manager for Goal SD. "The voters have spoken and we want to give them a voice in an election this fall, when it matters."
"Our goal from the very beginning was to provide a legacy to San Diego," continued Stone. "Contrary to the opposition campaign funded by our neighboring developers who are concerned about competition, we want the voice of taxpayers to matter, their needs to be protected and wishes to be met. We think we’ve hit that target with the plan that was put forward."
The developers proposed building a 60-acre park along the San Diego River, replacing aging Qualcomm Stadium with a smaller facility that would host soccer and college football games, along with housing, office and commercial buildings. The group has applied for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Scott Sherman endorsed the project last week. The mayor said the proposal "checks all the boxes” for the city’s goals for the 166-acre property, which was made available by the Chargers’ decision to move to Los Angeles.
Their support came three days after San Diego State University, which has long eyed the land for campus expansion, broke off negotiations regarding the project and called for the city to seek competing proposals.
The issue is scheduled to go before the City Council in June.
"We hope the Council will allow the voters to decide and not bend to the will of the special interest, insider crowd to delay the vote in a cynical effort to kill SoccerCity," Stone said. "As everyone now knows, a Council vote to delay is a vote to kill MLS in San Diego. The voters rightly want a choice, and with today’s announcement this initiative will end up on a ballot. We hope the Council will honor the will of the voters, follow the law which allows the special election, not waste the taxpayers money by calling for a vote when it doesn’t matter, and stand up to the opposition’s request to disenfranchise the hundred thousand San Diegans who put pen to paper in support of this proposal."