photo by Michael Pimentel/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
It may have taken longer than they would have liked, but the San Jose Earthquakes will finally be getting a soccer-specific stadium to call their own.
At a public hearing inside a packed San Jose City Hall's council chamber late on Wednesday night, the San Jose Planning Commission voted 6-0 to deny an appeal against the construction of a soccer-specific stadium. The appeal was filed late last month by neighbors of the area who cited noise and light pollution as part of the reason they wanted to postpone the project's construction.
The unanimous decision, which came after three hours of testimony and resulted in loud cheers from the 300-plus Earthquakes fans in attendance, was the final approval the club needed in order to build the $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium.
"Tonight's decision to uphold the Planned Development Permit that we received in December is a milestone not just for the San Jose Earthquakes but all Bay Area soccer fans," said Earthquakes president Dave Kaval in a statement. "Our club and its stakeholders have worked hard through this process and we feel that we have a great plan for our new stadium."
Earthquakes fans packed the chamber and some had to wait outside as community members and stakeholders spoke in favor of and against the appeal. The majority of the those who spoke were for the idea of having the stadium built.
Some of the more notable representatives to speak on the Earthquakes' behalf were club owner Lew Wolff and MLS president Mark Abbott.
In the end, the commission voted against the appeal in part because of the Earthquakes' willingness to accomodate to some of the neighbors' fears. The club had agreed to not hold any concerts at the stadium, which is to be built next to Mineta San Jose International Airport.
The next step for Earthquakes officials is to determine when they can break ground on the proposed stadium. Construction would have possibly already begun, but the appeal delayed the process.
"Looking ahead, our club will now begin the work of finalizing the stadium design and financing plan," said Kaval. "The goal is to put shovels in the ground this year."
The stadium, which some expect to be completed in time for the 2013 season, will be the 14th soccer-specific one in MLS. It has already generated over $3.5 million in revenue with the sales of 10 of the 12 unique field-level luxury suites it will have, according to the club.
What do you think of San Jose getting the green light for their soccer-specific stadium? Expecting the stadium to be ready in time for the 2013 season? it Which team are you hoping is next to get a SSS?
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