The San Diego City Council on Monday voted to put the proposed SoccerCity development plan up for public vote on the November 2018 general election ballot instead of holding a special election in November 2017 or approving the proposal without a public vote.
FS Investors, the group backing San Diego’s bid for an MLS expansion team, were working toward having the measure up for a vote in a special election in November before MLS awards its next two expansion teams by the end of this year.
San Diego is one of 12 cities currently vying for a total of four MLS expansion slots.
FS Investors stressed on Monday that the decision did not rule out a special election still being held before November 2018. The deadline for calling a special election is in August.
“The motion the City Council unanimously passed explicitly allows for future consideration of a special election on SoccerCity this year,” said FS Investors’ Nick Stone. “We owe it to supporters to continue to fight for their right to cast a vote when it still matters.”
SoccerCity is a $4 billion plan to redevelop the area around Qualcomm Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Chargers before their January move to LA, in San Diego’s Mission Valley. The proposal includes a soccer-specific stadium, housing, commercial space, hotels and a public river park.
“The council’s decision significantly jeopardizes our chance to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego and create a river park at no cost to taxpayers,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Regardless of whether they personally supported or opposed Soccer City, council members should have given San Diegans the chance to vote when it mattered the most. Despite the council’s delay, I will keep working for the park space, housing and economic benefits in the SoccerCity plan.”