The SDSU West initiative was handed a legal victory this week, as California’s appellate court denied an emergency petition from backers of the competing SoccerCity.
Backed by Friends of SDSU, SDSU West calls for the redevelopment of the SDCCU Stadium site in San Diego’s Mission Valley, which would be converted into a development that includes a new San Diego State University football stadium and surrounding amenities. It is one of two plans for the SDCCU Stadium site that is expected to be on the November ballot, joining the competing SoccerCity–a proposal from FS Investors that calls for a new MLS stadium to anchor a larger development.
Supporters of SoccerCity filed a lawsuit in April to get SDSU West booted from the November ballot. The lawsuit contended that Friends of SDSU–which consists of alumni, business leaders, and other parties–misused the university’s name, and did so to deceive voters into supporting the proposal’s place on the ballot. A Superior Court judge rejected that lawsuit last month, prompting the plaintiffs to file an emergency petition for an expedited hearing with the California Court of Appeals. That petition was rejected on Wednesday.
While the plaintiffs could continue the case, the decision to deny an immediate hearing effectively means that a ruling could not be issued before the August deadline for printing the upcoming ballot. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“The appellate court’s ruling is another victory for Friends of SDSU and San Diego voters,” a spokesperson for the campaign said in a statement. “It marks the second failed attempt by FS Investors to remove our initiative from the ballot and deny voters a choice regarding the future of the Mission Valley stadium site.”
In its original suit, SoccerCity alleged that the SDSU West coalition had been in violation of state election law and education code by using the SDSU name even though the university is not directly attached to the ballot measure. The suit and the appeal sought a court order to compel the city clerk to take the SDSU West proposal off the ballot.
Jim Sutton, the lawyer for the SoccerCity camp, said his clients may still continue with the appeal process, noting the appellate court did not rule on the merit of the case.
“We always knew it would be a heavy lift to convince the court of appeal to take the case on an expedited basis,” Sutton said.
The court’s denial to hear the case immediately, however, means a ruling would take place after the August deadline for printing the November ballot.
This has not been the only legal case concerning SDSU West. City Attorney Mara Elliott asked the courts to review both SDSU West and SoccerCity over concerns about their legality. In its argument against the two measures, the city is claiming that if either is approved by voters it will illegally interfere with administrative matters. However, both cases were rejected this month.
SDSU West proposes the sale of 132 acres for the development, which includes a stadium that would be constructed with an initial capacity of 35,000 with the ability to host college football and professional soccer matches. It could also be expanded by 20,000 seats to house an NFL team. Should it and SoccerCity proceed to the November ballot, the one with the greatest share of the majority will move forward.
Rendering courtesy Populous and San Diego State University.
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