Plans for a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara moved forward last week as the City Council voted 5-2 to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the project. The lengthy document detailing the potential "worst-case scenario" impacts on areas ranging from transportation to hydrology to noise was found to be compliant under California Environment Quality Act's (CEQA) comprehensive standards.
Prior to the certification vote, city leaders, small business owners, and others weighed in on why they thought the project should be approved. Larry Stone, Santa Clara County Assessor and former Sunnyvale Mayor, called Santa Clara, "The very best site in all of the NFL," due to the transportation and parking plan, accessible transit, easy routes into and out of the stadium site, and the multitude of entertainment and dining options already available for fans before and after events.
Other speakers cited the large and multi-faceted economic stimulus the stadium will produce in Santa Clara as the main reason for moving the project forward. The many benefits include creating tens of millions of dollars in new funding for the Santa Clara Unified School District, new revenue for hotels and businesses and bringing desperately needed jobs to the area, including construction workers who are facing a high unemployment rate.
During public comment, the community-based organization Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, represented by former City Councilmember Pat Kolstad, informed the City Council of its plan to petition for placing a binding measure on the June 2010 ballot through the initiative process. The binding measure would guarantee voters the final say in the stadium project. Kolstad explained the decision as the surest path to a binding ballot measure. The 49ers will support the effort to collect signatures for the initiative's petition beginning later this month.