Governor signs bill that would speed up reviews of large projects — like stadiums

City News Service

A state measure that could put a proposed downtown stadium for the Chargers on a faster track was signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 900 will allow certain large construction projects, including a new home for San Diego’s football team, to have faster judicial reviews of environmental issues. In return, the projects are expected to be environmentally friendly and create jobs.

The bill was introduced following a similar piece of legislation that focused solely on the proposed Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles. Brown signed that one, too.

AB 900 will cover the new Chargers facility, a future expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and a new stadium in Santa Clara for the San Francisco 49ers.

San Diego officials believe the new ordinances will limit lawsuits aimed at stopping stadium construction.

I’m gratified that San Diego’s stadium project will be given the same consideration as LA’s project,’' Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement.Not only will AB 900 help our efforts to build a new stadium here, but it will accelerate other public works efforts in the San Diego region, which will provide much needed jobs.’'

For about a decade the owners of the Chargers have pushed for a facility to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, which the NFL says does not meet its standards for hosting a Super Bowl.

The process has been delayed by difficulties in finding a suitable location and the poor economy.

Team and city officials are now studying a site in the East Village, near Petco Park, and trying to put together a financing package.

The Chargers are considered a top candidate to move to Farmers Field — if it is actually built — in case construction does not move forward on a new San Diego stadium.