More specifics needed on NFL stadium plan, L.A. councilman says
A Los Angeles city councilman is calling on the developer of a proposed downtown NFL football stadium to be more specific on how it would reduce traffic congestion and the project's effects on nearby neighborhoods.
In a letter to Anschutz Entertainment Group on Monday, Councilman Bill Rosendahl asked the developer to make clear how it would minimize car trips to the stadium on game days and make firm commitments to create park-and-ride facilities and ticket bundling programs, which would include public transportation fares in game ticket packages. He complained in an interview that a draft environmental impact report commissioned by the developer "is too vague and doesn’t get into the specifics" on those matters.
Rosendahl is one of several members of a special stadium review committee that took up AEG's environmental analysis Monday. According to officials in the Planning Department, the analysis drew 173 comments during a 45-day public comment period. Jon Foreman, a senior city planner, told the committee that the city had received 20 requests for mediation by commenters, who will now have the opportunity to meet with representatives for AEG and city officials to air their complaints.
One organization that has already begun the mediation process is the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that supported a state bill last year that helped AEG secure special treatment in the courts but has expressed disappointment in the environmental analysis. In a letter to city officials last month, the group complained that AEG failed to fully analyze health risks created by cars that would travel to and from the 72,000-seat facility.
David Pettit, an attorney for the NRDC, also complained that the developer hadn't explained how it would achieve the goals for fewer car trips and carbon neutrality stipulated in last year's law, which limits the amount of time that the project's environmental analysis can be legally challenged.
Pettit told the council committee Monday that he still supports the stadium proposal, “as it was promised to the state of California.” He said he believes his group and AEG can work together during mediation sessions scheduled for next week to address environmental issues. “I am confident that we can work out these problems in a timely way that will not compromise the construction date of the stadium,” he said.
AEG spokesman Michael Roth said his team is looking forward to the dialogue, adding that the firm's environmental analysis had been thorough. “With five years before opening, it states there are numerous avenues to reach the protocols called for,” he said.
Other groups that issued requests for mediation include the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a community group made up mostly of downtown residents.
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Image: Rendering of proposed downtown NFL stadium next to L.A. Live Credit: Anschutz Entertainment Group