Not too long ago, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith warned the city would need about a year for a sufficient environmental impact study of a new stadium.

Now, San Diego’s hustling to get one done in mere days. The study’s findings are supposed to be available for public review by Aug. 10, when city and county officials meet with an NFL owners committee in Chicago. From there, we’ll have 45 days of public comment, and a final report to be finished before a January vote.

How did the city manage to speed things up so significantly?

Marcela Escobar-Eck, a longtime land-use consultant who’s overseen some of San Diego’s most controversial projects, joined us on the podcast this week to school us on the specifics. “This is an extremely aggressive timeline,” Escobar-Eck said, “but it can be done.”

She said despite the city’s claim, it’s likely some projects and services will be pushed aside as city staff scramble to get the environmental study done. And she said that yes, there will be some value in completing this $2.1 million review, even if San Diego doesn’t end up getting a new stadium on the Mission Valley site.

Also on the show this week: a special gem of an email pulled from Liam Dillon’s public records haul while reporting on Carson’s stadium backstory; San Diego’s glut of landfill space and San Diego Unified’s solar aims and struggles; fact-checking the city attorney’s role; why Kevin Faulconer circa January 2014 is our Hero of the Week; and Marne Foster is our Goat.


We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?

This episodes’s cool jams: “10,000 Emerald Pools” by BORNS, and “No Diggity” as covered by Chet Faker.

Listen to the podcast here, on Stitcher or on iTunes.

Download Audio

Correction: An earlier version of this post noted that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in February that “the city would need about a year for a sufficient environmental impact study of a new stadium in Mission Valley.” Goldsmith was referring to a hypothetical “typical project” and did not mention Mission Valley.

    This article relates to: Chargers Stadium, Corrections, Land Use, Voice of San Diego Podcast

    Written by Catherine Green

    Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at catherine.green@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.

    2 comments
    David Benz
    David Benz subscriber

    Great interview w Marcela.  I'm still curious to find out how detailed the alternative uses are studied.  Clearly there is significant time saved by excluding the originally proposed surrounding development or the city would have kept the land sale as a funding mechanism.

    It's just not believable that a proposed stadium would be built in the north east corner of the Q site on about 25 acres (Levi's Stadium is on 22 acres), 31 acres would be used for the river park, and the remaining 110 acres will remain a sea of asphalt.

    The Chargers are wisely calling BS.

    I bet the Three Stooges, Faulconer, Roberts, Goldsmith, are going to try to hide their supposed "financing plan" from the public as long as physically possible.

    Gerry Braun
    Gerry Braun subscriber

    Allow me to bring clarity to your opening sentence "Not too long ago, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith warned the city would need about a year for a sufficient environmental impact study of a new stadium in Mission Valley."


    What the city attorney wrote in his memo was: "An EIR for a typical project takes about 12-18 months. The City may not commit to a specific project before the CEQA process is completed."


    First, no reference was made to a Mission Valley site. The memo was written February 2; selection of the Mission Valley site was announced March 12.


    More importantly, the memo refers to the timetable for "a typical project," and obviously not to this project. As the media has reported extensively, this ceased to be "a typical project" some time ago, when the Mayor's Office committed to an accelerated EIR timetable. What is occurring now is anything but typical. 


    By pretending the phrase "a typical process" was not used, some find a "magic" inconsistency between the process now under way and the February 2 memo. 


    However, there is no magic. There is no inconsistency. They are in complete alignment.