Daily Archives: December 16, 2005
I showed up a few minutes late for the EIR scoping session, but I think I got most of the pertinent points. The schedule is as follows:
- Public comments for this scoping phase are due January 3, 2006.
- The Draft EIR will be released sometime in late February, with a 45-day public review period to follow.
- The final EIR will be up for Planning Commission certification around May 31.
- June 20 is the deadline for any appeals.
- The plan will then be placed before the City Council for a vote. If successful, it will become a ballot measure in the November 7, 2006 General Election.
Other things of note:
- Several residents from local neighborhoods expressed concern about noise and traffic abatement. There is a distinct possibility that some streets in the Delmas Park area would be closed on game days/nights to better manage traffic. Soundproofing may have to be done on nearby houses and the ballpark would have to be built in a way that best mitigates noise and light pollution.
- Parking is going to be a problem, especially when the SJ Water lots are developed. Something will have to replace lost parking.
- The redone street grid will have some unknown impact. The Autumn Parkway development being planned for the area north of the arena is not budgeted at this time.
- Various ballpark configurations will be studied for their potential impacts and fitness.
- Alternate sites will be included as part of the EIR.
- District 6 councilman (and county supervisor candidate) Ken Yeager was present.
- I asked a question about PG&E’s willingness to reconfigure the substation on the site. This does not appear to be a feasible option, which means the substation would have to either stay intact or relocate.
- An option to dig a bowl for the stadium and place the field 15-25 feet below street level will be studied. I brought it up because I think it could help mitigate light, noise, and vertical (FAA) clearance.
- Initial drawings continue to have the ballpark in the northeast orientation. It also has the ballpark jutting into what is now Autumn Street. That would force Autumn Street further east, next to Los Gatos Creek. One of the drawings showed a park on the creek’s west bank.
We’ll see how it goes from here. No news on this expected until after the end of the year.
Several news outlets reported today that the Quakes are on their way out of town. To Houston, no less. There has been a lot of fingerpointing in recent weeks about who’s most to blame. It’s well known that ownership group AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) had no interest in holding onto the team in the long term. The City of San Jose had done little over the last several years to improve the Quakes’ lease situation with SJSU. And SJSU wasn’t budging over the terms. Attendance wasn’t a big complaint driver because a well-developed fanbase and winning seasons. Revenue was.
That brings us to today, when MLS commissioner Don Garber thanked local fans and talked about a new team coming to roost in San Jose as early as 2007. The city signed a letter of intent with MLS to get a stadium financing plan in place. Judging from the message boards at bigsoccer.com, it’s no consolation.
Which brings me to an interesting A’s related bit of news. Quakes announcer and longtime South Bay sports media guy John Shrader mentioned on KNBR that one of the local investor groups thought to potentially save the Quakes or invest in a new team was led by none other than Lew Wolff and the A’s. No details were revealed beyond that, which is enough to start some wild speculation:
- How serious was Wolff about investing in the Quakes?
- Did he make any kind of proposal?
- Did the proposal involve a new soccer specific stadium?
- Or was it more along the lines of a shared stadium situation?
- If so, where? San Jose? Oakland? Elsewhere in the Bay Area?
- Does this mean he actually has designs on the A’s moving to San Jose?
Obviously, any number of conclusions can be drawn from this tiny bit of information. Garber mentioned that talks with Wolff and the A’s will continue into the new year. It can’t be denied: Wolff’s connections to San Jose and the Bay Area are as strong as ever, as evidenced by his willingness to entertain Quakes talks. And that should come as a relief to A’s fans who fear a move to Vegas or Portland.