The San Diego City Council has approved spending $2.1 million to continue preparing an environmental impact report for a proposed Mission Valley stadium project aimed at keeping the San Diego Chargers in the city.
An environmental report would need to be completed by mid-October in order for the city to place a stadium ballot measure before voters, possibly in January. Chargers officials have stated publicly that the team does not consider it feasible to complete an environmental report that would withstand legal challenges in that time frame, since such reports typically take 12 to 18 months to complete.
“San Diego’s stadium plan continues to move forward, and today’s vote demonstrates that we are committed to keeping professional football in our region,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in a statement, responding to City Council’s 6-3 decision.
Faulconer said a completed environmental report is valuable to taxpayers and will be useful regardless of what happens with the Chargers and regardless of whether Qualcomm Stadium is replaced or simply demolished.
Since the Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city last month, a negotiating team from the city and county has had direct discussions with NFL officials, who have said a franchise relocation window opens in January. The Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are all exploring moves to the Los Angeles area, with the Chargers and Raiders looking to co-develop a stadium in Carson.
San Diego officials said the NFL will be looking for progress on the environmental analysis when league representatives visit San Diego later this month. San Diego officials are also expected to present plans to NFL owners in August.
The city began work on the environmental report on June 22, and officials contend the report can be prepared on an expedited schedule because the project is a reconstruction of an existing facility of a smaller capacity on the same site. Consultants at AECOM are working on the report.