City Council unanimously votes to place SoccerCity on November 2018 ballot

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego City Council unanimously voted Monday to place the SoccerCity initiative on a November 2018 ballot. 

The developers had collected enough valid petition signatures to force the council members to place the issue on an election ballot, or adopt it outright.

Related Link: San Diego City leaders’ last push against SoccerCity proposal

FS Investors of La Jolla, the group behind SoccerCity, has said sending the proposal to a general election would lead to its failure, as it would not give Major League Soccer the guarantee a stadium would be built in the time needed to grant San Diego a team. 

Related Link: SoccerCity group moves forward despite City Council’s special election decision

With a smaller facility for a MLS franchise and college football, the project would also include roughly 5,000 residential units, 740,000 square feet of retail space, nearly 18,000 parking spaces and about 55 acres of parks and open space, according to the EDC.

Over 100-thousand voters signed petitions in favor of the plan to build a 60-acre park along the San Diego River and replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium with a smaller facility that would host soccer and college football games, along with housing, office and commercial buildings. 

Mayor Faulconer released the following statement after Monday’s city council vote, still saying that San Diegans should have been given the opportunity to vote on the initiative. 

“Last week, a City Council majority avoided confronting some of the biggest issues facing our city, and today they continued the trend by shelving a plan that more than 100,000 San Diegans support. The Council’s decision significantly jeopardizes our chance to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego and create a river park at no cost to taxpayers. Regardless of whether they personally supported or opposed Soccer City, Councilmembers should have given San Diegans the chance to vote when it mattered the most. Despite the Council’s delay, I will keep working for the park space, housing and economic benefits in the Soccer City plan.”

The Public Land, Public Vote Coalition released the following statement, commending the city council for protecting the best interests of the city, taxpayers and San Diego State University. 

“The Public Land, Public Vote Coalition commends the San Diego City Council for protecting the best interests of the City, taxpayers and San Diego State University by placing the SoccerCity initiative on the next general election ballot in November 2018. This decision gives the City time to move forward with an open and transparent process for soliciting competing proposals, which more than 60 percent of voters support, according to a recent San Diego Union-Tribune poll.
“While we are thrilled with today’s victory, in many ways, it is only the beginning. We will now be taking our case to all of the residents of San Diego, and will be working to demonstrate our grave concerns with the SoccerCity initiative to City voters over the next several months. We’re also advocating for the City to move forward with a competitive process for soliciting alternate proposals for the redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site, in the hopes of identifying a project that better meets the needs of the City, taxpayers and SDSU.”

Councilmember Barbara Bry also released a statement, calling the vote a victory for San Diego taxpayers. 

Today’s vote was a victory for the taxpaying residents of San Diego. The City can now move forward expeditiously with a fair, transparent, and competitive process to bring alternate options for the development of the Mission Valley site to the public prior to the November 2018 election. We will accomplish this by building a strong and diverse coalition that includes the Council, the Mayor, SDSU, and community members. We must act swiftly, but with full comprehension of the fine print and the informed buy-in of the community. In doing so, I look forward to seeing a once-in-a-lifetime project take root in Mission Valley and create a legacy that our grandchildren can be proud of. 

San Diego State University said they appreciated the community members who spoke on behalf of a "fair and open process." 

“We appreciate the support from the San Diego State University alumni and community members who spoke today at City Council on behalf of a fair and open process. We look forward to working with the City and other key stakeholders to evaluate the best use for the Mission Valley property with the goal of securing a future home for Aztec football and growing the university’s academic and research endeavors, which benefit all of San Diego. SDSU is a growing and thriving institution of higher education that has been part of San Diego for 120 years and we remain committed to working collaboratively with the community for generations to come.”

Nick Stone, SoccerCity Project Manager, said the group was proud of the people who "stood up today against the powerful political establishment."

“Today, the City Council heard hours of incredibly compelling testimony from hundreds of San Diegans who said they wanted to vote on SoccerCity before the MLS selects cities for the league’s final four teams this fall. We’re proud of the huge, broad coalition of citizens that stood up today against the powerful political establishment who wants to kill the project through delay. The motion the City Council unanimously passed explicitly allows for future consideration of a special election on SoccerCity this year. We owe it to supporters to continue to fight for their right to cast a vote when it still matters.”

Categories: Local San Diego News