Public weighs in on plans for future of Qualcomm Stadium site - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Public weighs in on plans for future of Qualcomm Stadium site

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SAN DIEGO (News 8/CNS) - A public open house was held Saturday to discuss an update of the Mission Valley Community Plan, which sets out zoning, design and land use standards for the Qualcomm Stadium property. The plan could provide a road map for city officials should the SoccerCity initiative be rejected by voters next year.

"There are really two public processes going on at the same time right now," Councilman Scott Sherman said at a special meeting of the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee, which he chairs.

"We have the citizen's initiative where the public gets a chance to vote — a pretty open and transparent public process — and we have staff down there (Saturday) starting more meetings and getting input on the community on what should be done with that site if the initiative doesn't pass," Sherman said. "What I see in my chair here is that we have input either way it goes — either voter direct input through a ballot or voter input through the community update process."

The question of what to do with the 166 acres of stadium property opened when the Chargers announced they were moving to Los Angeles.

San Diego State University wants the land for future campus expansion, needs a home for the Aztecs football program and is negotiating a Qualcomm Stadium lease extension with the city.

"What we are doing is trying to modernize the plan looking at how redevelopment should happen in Mission Valley," community plan project manager Nancy Graham said. 

The investors behind SoccerCity — who want to build a smaller stadium, offices, housing, commercial space and parks — jumped in first and qualified their initiative.

Because SoccerCity is going before voters — likely in November of next year — the city cannot approve land uses that conflict with the initiative, according to the City Attorney's Office. Legal restrictions recently thwarted a proposal by several City Council members to have the land declared surplus property.

"Part of my support previously for a special election (this fall) was to get started on various alternatives if the measure were to fail," committee member Chris Cate said. He said having to wait for more than a year puts city officials "in a very awkward position."

Jack Straw of the mayor's office told committee members that staff began work on the Mission Valley Community Plan update two years ago, and it should come before the City Council for approval in the fall of next year — close to the time of the SoccerCity vote.

The open house is scheduled Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Westfield Mission Valley, across from Ruby's Diner.

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