Special Report: SDSU West land issues

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The City Attorney’s memo that KUSI made public Monday raises serious concerns over who would control the Mission Valley site if the SDSU West initiative is approved by the voters in November.

The initiative cannot be changed and the memo stated if the land is sold to SDSU, the city loses control of the property, but that may not necessarily be the case.

Related Link: KUSI Special Report: Latest on the SDSU West proposal

The initiative anticipates a sales contract that imposes covenants and restrictions on the land to be negotiated after the vote.

City Attorney Mara Elliott’s memo stated the city will lose control of the property if it’s sold to SDSU, but there’s always an exception.

Kim Kilkenny is with “Friends of San Diego State,” the organization that drafted the SDSU West initiative that will go to the voters.

Related Link: Mayor Faulconer speaks about SDSU West and more issues facing the City of San Diego

“It would allow the city to sell the site to SDSU and impose a series of conditions. That’s what the initiative requires and it preserves all of the city’s power and all the city’s authority over that site through the sales contract,” Kilkenny said.

A sales contract would have to be negotiated with the State University System and would require the state to be bound to any conditions negotiated with the mayor.

“It authorizes the city council to establish the sales price at fair market value and to attach conditions to the sales contract through an open and transparent process,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

What exactly is a sales contract?

Related Link: The future of the Mission Valley site

According to former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, “a sales contract is how you bind each party. This initiative — like the SoccerCity initiative — doesn’t bind the proponents.”

If the university wants that property to expand it, they will have to negotiate.

“If they don’t think it’s fair value or if they don’t think it’s in the best terms of the interests of the city, they can say no,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith, like others, said the city is missing an opportunity to give voters something specific rather than the uncertainties offered by both SoccerCity and SDSU.

“What I would suggest doing is sending this out for a conditional request for proposal … now,” Goldsmith said.

Related Link: ‘Friends of SDSU’ steering committee member defends SDSU West

Conditional in case both initiatives fail in November, there would be other offers on the table.

“Bring on the offers and then let’s have some public hearings. Let’s hear what we can do with this property,” Goldsmith added.

This would give the city total control of the site and give voters more substance and a true picture of what would happen rather than the uncertainties of both initiatives as detailed by the city attorney.

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