Stadium Watch: City Council approves $2.1 million for Environmental Impact Report

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – 4:00 p.m. – The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to authorize $2.1 million for environmental review services for a Stadium Reconstruction effort.

Council President Pro Tem Marti Emerald was joined by Councilmembers Alvarez and Gloria in voting against this action. Emerald shared the following statement during council:

“In the interest of full disclosure, my family and I are big Charger fans. My husband grew up here, rooting for the Chargers. I enjoy them, too, and have great personal admiration for the Spanos Family and appreciate their contributions to our communities. We would love to see them stay. But, the Chargers have made a business decision that’s right for them. They have walked away from the bargaining table for the opportunity to move to a larger market.

3:19 p.m. – The city has taken another step forward to convince the NFL that San Diego is doing what it needs to do to keep the Chargers.

The NFL has put San Diego on the clock to have a viable plan and a process that ends with a vote by January.

Part of moving that process occurred at City Council Tuesday afternoon.

The City Council moved $2.1 million from the general fund to the stadium project to pay for an accelerated Environmental Impact Report which the Chargers say is legally suspect. 

The EIR is a huge problem for the city and the NFL.

It's what caused the Spanos negotiating team to break off the talks and leave the table last month.

EIR's are required by the state for projects, but there are exemptions.

The council, using its independent judgment, has determined the project will not have a significant impact on the environment and thus does not require consideration of environmental factors.

The following statement is from Spanos spokesman Mark Fabiani:

"CEQA requires you to include everything in your original EIR that is reasonably feasible. The city would have to account for the development in the EIR. This would be tied up in the courts for several years."

The Mayor's Task Force recommended that the bulk of the public financing, $225 million, would come from future development at the stadium site but the city has dropped development as a funding source.

"Without the $225 million, and no other funding source, there's no way to make any public contribution unless it comes from the general fund."
The Mayor's office has other plans.

"We are comfortable saying that financing will not rely on surrounding development and it will not raise taxes."

The Mayor's office hasn't said how it will cover the loss of the $225 million saying it's part of the negotiations, but there are no negotiations.

The Mayor's office says:

"Of course, if negotiations never resume, then a financing agreement will never be struck."

Approving the EIR demonstrates the city continues to make progress. It's key in advance of the August 11th owners meeting in Chicago.

The EIR takes $2.1 million from the general fund. 

In addition, there's $200,000 for design work.

$380 thousand for contingencies. 

That's $3.1 million from the general fund which was not supposed to happen. 

The city did receive $2.1 million from the state to cover state mandates the city had to pay for.

There will be complaints that money could have gone to other uses such as infrastructure or city services.

Will the Chargers return to the negotiating table?

An email from Mark Fabiani says they have made our position on the quickie EIR clear for a month now and the city has rejected their position. 

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