San Diego voters could determine the fate of the SoccerCity proposal, as backers of the project are suggesting that it be placed on a November ballot.
Led by FS Investors, SoccerCity calls for the construction of a facility for an MLS expansion franchise and adjacent development at the site of Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Over the last several weeks, proponents of the plan have been working to gather signatures in support of the project, which will be presented to the San Diego City Council later this year.
As part of that process, the city council would eventually determine whether the plan is placed on the ballot or given outright approval. However, FS Investors is now saying that it supports the idea of a public vote, which would take place in November.
San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has already stated his intention to seek a special election for an unrelated proposal that would raise the city’s hotel tax to fund a convention center expansion and additional projects. The fact that a special election could already be on the horizon, combined with more certainty over the MLS’ timetable for rewarding expansion franchises, has led Mike Stone and other members of the group believe that a referendum should take place. More from the Times of San Diego:
“We have consistently and publicly supported taking our plan to a vote of the people, provided that the timing would meet Major League Soccer’s requirements, which we do not control,” Stone said.
“After several weeks of working with the league’s commissioner and senior staff, it has become clear to us that final decisions will not be made before the end of the year,” he said. “In light of the mayor’s announcement yesterday of a special election in November of this year, we are requesting that the City Council place our proposal on the same ballot and allow the citizens of San Diego — who own the Qualcomm Stadium property — to have the final say on what will become of this special site.”
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has proposed a ballot measure that would raise the city’s hotel room tax to pay for expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, and provide funding streams for road repairs and programs that address homelessness. It goes before a City Council committee for the first time Wednesday.
The full City Council will be tasked with deciding whether to call a special election for this fall and place the two issues on the ballot.
By November, there could be a clearer sense as to where competing cities stand when it comes to landing an MLS expansion franchise. On Tuesday, St. Louis voters rejected a proposal that would have led to city funding toward the cost of a new stadium. Another MLS-related referendum is set for next month, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ proposal to expand Al Lang Stadium will be considered as part of a special election on May 2.
If SoccerCity is placed on the ballot, it would only require a simple majority for approval, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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