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Stadium issue on Inglewood City Council’s agenda

INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood City Council could decide as early as Feb. 24 whether to call for a public vote on an addition to the Hollywood Park redevelopment plan that would add an 80,000-seat football stadium to the project.

The council could call for a special election in June on the issue or approve the addition by itself after more than 22,000 signatures requesting a special election on the issue were collected in a matter of weeks by backers of the stadium plan.

The project, financed by the Hollywood Park Land Company, a development group that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, would add 60 acres purchased last year by Kroenke added to the existing plans for the 238-acre Hollywood Park site.

Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said he is waiting to receive an environmental impact report this week before deciding how he will vote at the Feb. 24 meeting.

At the meeting, the council will hear a report from the city clerk’s office verifying the signatures that were collected by stadium supporters are authentic and more than the amount required to force a public vote.

The council could sidestep the public vote, which would save the city the estimated $110,000 a special election would cost.

Inglewood officials are waiting to receive environmental and economic reports on the stadium project from two firms hired last month. The city hired CAJA Environmental Services for $88,000 to conduct a report on the proposal. CAJA also consulted with the city on an environmental review of plans for the initial 238-acre retail project.

The City Council also has paid Keyser Marston Associates $33,000 to review fiscal and economic reports prepared for the stadium initiative.

Butts said he is certain he has the public backing he needs to win the stadium contract for Inglewood.

Those opposed to the stadium plan are expected to attend the Feb. 24 to voice complaints that the stadium would have detrimental impact on the city, citing parking and noise issues.

“Let’s not forget quality of life is not something you can’t put a price tag on,” said resident Diane Sambrano. “We didn’t matter, it’s a done deal. But how can it be a done deal if the city never talked about it to the rest of the community?”

City officials are hoping for quick approval of the stadium plan, which would allow construction to start on the stadium aspect of the proposal by the end of the year.

While the city is trying to fast-track the stadium plan, the National Football League has told owners of the 32 teams in the league that any move to Los Angeles would still require approval from the league office as well as three-fourths of the owners.

The Rams, along with the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, are having stadium issues they want to resolve and all three teams could move, with league approval, as early as the 2016 football season.

While the stadium won’t be built by then, a team wishing to move to Southern California could make arrangements to play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Pasadena Rose Bowl while the stadium is being built.

The state of the Missouri and the city of St. Louis made a new proposal to the Rams last week in an effort to persuade the team that moved their after the 1994 season to stay.

San Diego officials also met with Chargers officials last week in an attempt to restart negotiations for a new stadium there.

The Feb. 24 Inglewood City Council meeting will be held on the ninth floor of City Hall, 1 Manchester Blvd., beginning at 7 p.m.