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You might remember my column a month or so ago about a peculiar little potential conflict between the Chargers’ dreams about the Chula Vista bay front and the city’s plans for Gaylord Entertainment’s resort and hotel also on the bay front.
It all centered on the idea that if Chula Vista and the port started to really consider a new Chargers stadium as an official proposal, they’d have to start over on the long process of writing an environmental impact report for development of the bay front.
And if they have to rewrite the report, which has taken years to put together and is still not finished, it could be the straw that breaks any tenuous strand that’s still keeping the Gaylord deal in the realm of possibility. Gaylord needs this report to be finished. And Chula Vista’s leaders have decided they need Gaylord if their city is to survive financially.
|Can you see their thumbs? They’re up!|
Hence the confusion not long ago when it was reported that Chula Vista would be asked to sign off on the Chargers’ plans to pursue a financial study examining how the stadium could be built. Mayor Cheryl Cox told me there would be no vote on that. She and the City Council would just listen to what the team had to say.
Turns out there was a vote Tuesday night on an item vaguely described as a resolution in support of keeping the Chargers in the San Diego region.
Here’s the news from the meeting as reported by the Union-Tribune:
The Chula Vista City Council voted 5-0 last night to give the go-ahead for a study — at the Chargers’ expense — on how the team can privately finance a $1 billion stadium.
And here’s the actual resolution the City Council voted on (emphasis added):
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that although Chula Vista cannot contribute taxpayer monies to the Chargers to build a new stadium the City Council of the City of Chula Vista hereby supports the San Diego Chargers desire to conduct whatever studies they deem necessary to reach their stated goal of privately financing a one billion dollar stadium wherever in San Diego County it might be located. Since more information is better than less information the Chargers are encouraged to conduct whatever design or other studies they believe would be useful in their attempts to build a new stadium that would be suitable to hold a Super Bowl.
I talked to Chula Vista City Attorney Ann Moore. After all, as much as this resolution tries to imply otherwise, everyone has settled on the fact that if the stadium is built in Chula Vista it’s going to be built on the bay front. So if the U-T is correct and this resolution gave “the go-ahead” to the Chargers’ study, are we getting close to the point when the stadium is an official proposal.
Not at all, Moore said.
She said that until the Chargers file an application for a permit to build a new stadium, the stadium isn’t an official proposal and its environmental impact doesn’t need to be considered in the report being written about Gaylord and the rest of the bay front.
So a “go ahead” as the U-T described it, didn’t actually make it a project.
“I don’t know what a ‘go-ahead’ is,” Moore said.
The only way the Chargers’ idea becomes a real proposal is with an actual paper application, she said.
“At this point, there’s absolutely no project, no application, no plan, no site, so there really is no proposal,” Moore said.
I asked her how she interpreted the City Council’s resolution. Did it have any significance?
She told me to read it.
I said I did. I read it to mean nothing — not a “go ahead” not anything. Just rhetoric.
“I wouldn’t say that,” she said. “It’s a thumbs-up — an encouragement. Encouragement is something.”
It certainly is.