SJ EIR Certification Hearing Wednesday

It’s an important night tomorrow night, as the revised ballpark EIR will have its certification hearing. Should the document be certified, the City Council will take up when it expects to have the ballpark issue on the ballot. Of course, the closest date is the November election, so there’s no real drama there. I have heard that ballot language is already being tested.

The Merc’s Tracy Seipel covers some of the uncertainty regarding the final shape of the project. Key to this is the location of a new parking structure. Of the two new parking options, the one with the most traction is a garage on the main arena lot, adjacent to HP Pavilion. It’s not the most optimal site distance-wise from the ballpark site, but it is the site that creates the least upheaval thanks to it being city-owned land, not privately-owned land. Some area residents have also preferred this site because it would mean no garages in the area between the ballpark and the arena. I’m not sure that this is feasible long term, but it’s worth considering if only from an aesthetic standpoint. There has been some hubbub about the Sharks not liking a “no parking” option, which makes sense. They have an agreement with the city to have a certain number of spaces available for events, and a ballpark would encroach upon that.

The issue here is not whether a garage will be built, it’s a matter of where and by whom. While the ballpark is a big part of the Greater Downtown area, it’s only a part of a broader development plan. Depending on the final configuration and footprint of a ballpark, there may actually be room for some parking right next to it. A garage there could be financed any number of ways and would probably require its own EIR since it would change the project, but that’s a bridge to cross if it is ever reached.

Simply put, a garage next to the arena makes the most sense. It satisfies the Sharks/SVSE, some transit advocates, area residents, city requirements, and perhaps even the A’s (though they don’t have a voice). The thing is that A’s and Sharks ownership is tight, so it wouldn’t be beyond the Sharks to act as a proxy for a party that doesn’t officially have a voice yet, such as the A’s.

There will be a liveblog on Wednesday.

10 thoughts on “SJ EIR Certification Hearing Wednesday

  1. So ML—sounds as if we might be heading to a November ballot without an official blessing from MLB….something that makes it contingent on MLB allowing the A’s to move to SJ without the city incurring any costs associated with releasing the territorial rights…

  2. ML, wouldn’t it be risky for S.J. to go ahead without MLB blessing and have to fight an opposition campaign by the San Jose (wink wink) Giants? Or does S.J. just figure it can force the issue.

  3. SJ is powerless regarding T-rights, they can only get their pieces in place. They can’t assume that MLB will get through its sausage making in a timely manner. There is definite risk, but I could see the caveat being baked into the proposition: “If Major League Baseball grants territorial rights for the Oakland Athletics to Santa Clara County…” Then it’s a sort of no harm, no foul situation: money doesn’t get spent until T-rights are approved. Downside is that voters will see the lack of commitment from MLB, that’s the risk.

  4. B.C.,
    The other risk is SJ going through with a ballot measure when one technically might not be needed; no direct subsidy for ballpark construction and market-rate land lease deal. It may be the “right” thing to do (?) and viewed as a way of the city covering its “rear end,” but why do it if techically it’s not necessary? Lawsuits against the SEIR under CEQA will most likely follow regardless (“Noise levels/traffic wasn’t properly addressed, etc.”), and an anti-ballpark campaign (SF/SJ Giants) would spread lies like a wildfire (“No ballpark at the expense of schools, library’s, cops, etc.”). Pending approval by MLB of an A’s move to SJ, this would be the chance of a lifetime for the City of SJ. IMHO, don’t play with fire and put this to an electorate shell shocked by the economy and easily influenced by lies/sensationalism; NO VOTE! (be easy on me R.M.)

  5. Tony – Seriously? Give it up already.

  6. I keep hearing that midterm voter turn out is smaller, older and more informed.

  7. The 18-28 group is what influences these types of elections–for something like this canvassers focus on this demographic, have them register, vote, and than return via mail—if you recall in the last BART measure it was this group that ultmately pushed it over the top—same strategy that is being used by the ‘9ers in Santa Clara and by initial reports fairly successfully–

  8. I think San Jose should put a $10-per-ticket tax on SJ Giants tickets, to help fund the A’s stadium project. Show the minor leaguers who’s boss.

  9. @jesse – That’s often the case. However, SJ’s midterm won’t have any hot button local issues. Mayor Reed is running virtually unopposed, and I haven’t heard about any new taxes on the ballot – city or county. Other than the Senator/Governor races, there probably won’t much to get excited about except for the ballpark measure.

  10. marijuana initiative is on the ballot, could bring out young voters.

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