Court ruling stalls convention center expansion - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Court ruling stalls convention center expansion

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Imagine saying goodbye to Comic-Con and other major conventions, never to return. It could be a reality if the San Diego Convention Center doesn't expand.

City leaders admit they won't make Wednesday's 2:00 p.m. deadline for a new ordinance proposed on the November ballot.

"The convention center is huge, it's where a lot of people come and stay," a visitor said.

Sounds like a comic book plot but San Diego's city leaders leaders are running out of time and will have a closed door meeting Thursday to propose a plan of action.

A court ruling states that creating a hotel tax to finance the expansion of the convention center is unconstitutional. That means it will not go to a vote in November. This, despite the fact that hotel owners approved a hotel tax jump from one percent to three percent in 2012.

But a state appellate court ruled it was invalid because it wasn't up for a citywide vote.

Now back to square one. So, how will the city pay for the $520 million project?

City Attorney, Jan Goldsmith, says the city isn't at risk of having to pay refunds yet since a tax hasn't been collected.

According to the Union-Tribune, Goldsmith says there are two options: take no action and look for others funding sources or appeal the court ruling to the State Supreme Court with a September 10 deadline.

"It's always sad to see when there's empty stores in the neighborhood. It's not good for employment and people in the city," supporter Peter Marttila said.

The City Council will meet with Mayor Kevin Faulconer Thursday and has until the end of August to devise some sort of plan.

They would like Comic-Con and other major conventions to stick around for many years to come.


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