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Appellate Court Upholds SDSU West’s Place on November Ballot

SDSU Aztec Stadium rendering

A San Diego city attorney’s appeal to remove SDSU West from the November ballot has been denied, allowing it to take another step toward its upcoming referendum.

The SDSU West initiative, which is being backed by the group Friends of SDSU, calls for the redevelopment of the SDCCU Stadium site in San Diego’s Mission Valley. The area would be converted into a development that includes a new San Diego State University football stadium and surrounding amenities. Both it and the competing SoccerCity, an initiative that calls for an MLS stadium and surrounding development on the same site, have been slated for the November ballot.

However, San Diego 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 had claimed that if either is approved by voters it would illegally interfere with administrative matters. The two cases were considered separately last month, and both were ultimately rejected by San Diego Superior Court judges, prompting Elliott to file appeals for both measures.

In a ruling issued Monday, California’s appellate court denied the emergency petitions from Elliott, with the ruling justices noting that the city had not adequately argued for taking either proposal off the voter ballot. That allows both measures to proceed toward their November referendums. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“We decline to eliminate the right of the public to express its views on the competing initiatives,” Justices Patricia Benke, Richard Huffman and Joan Irion said in their denial of the city attorney’s emergency petitions filed last week.

The court denied the writs of mandate on identical grounds, concluding that the city’s “assertion that it will have to spend taxpayer money” to place the initiatives on the ballot “is not substantial enough to prevent (them) from going before the electorate.”

The ruling clears the way for the measures to go before voters in November. SoccerCity and SDSU West both seek to redevelop the city’s Mission Valley stadium site with housing, commercial projects and a public park along the San Diego River.

“With no further legal barriers in our path and overwhelming support from San Diegans, SDSU West is officially headed for the November ballot,” said Friends of SDSU spokeswoman Katy Temple in a press statement. “The Court’s decision confirms what we’ve known all along – SDSU West is in the best interests of the community. It is the only initiative that creates an opportunity for SDSU to expand its campus through an open and transparent process that will benefit our regional economy for generations to come.”

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 and the ability to host college football and professional soccer matches. It could also be expanded by 20,000 seats to house an NFL team. With it and SoccerCity now poised to proceed to the November ballot, the one with the greatest share of the majority will move forward.

Campaigning for both proposals has picked up in recent weeks. In SDSU West’s case, it is touting endorsements from several entities, including the California State University Board of Trustees, Sierra Club, Lincoln Club of San Diego County, Linda Vista Planning Group, Point Loma Democratic Club, SDSU Alumni Association, and Aztec Club.

Rendering courtesy Populous and San Diego State University. 

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