San Diego's mayor met with Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos Sunday and announced that a mayor's advisory committee will speed up its work on a stadium plan designed to keep the team from moving.
The committee will deliver its plan to the team within three months, which could avoid a move that would bring the Chargers to the Los Angeles area. The advisory panel's initial timeline would have brought a plan to the Chargers by the end of the year in an effort to place the proposal on the November 2016 ballot.
The plan would likely need a two-thirds majority vote approval if the proposal ends up before voters.
Spanos' one-hour morning meeting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the San Diego Padres' Petco Park came after a surprise announcement last week that the Chargers and Oakland Raiders are planning a joint stadium in Carson outside Los Angeles if they fail to get stadium deals in their hometowns. Both sides said the plan to spur on the work of the city advisory committee is a step forward toward reaching a deal.
Faulconer said he is committed to keeping the team but equally devoted to the city's financial standing.
"Like thousands of San Diegans, I want the Chargers to stay in our city for generations to come," the mayor said in a statement. "I explained to Mr. Spanos that we are going to work to keep the team here, but I will never support a deal that San Diego can't afford."
A Chargers statement on the meeting said that the team also remains "committed to finding a publicly acceptable stadium solution here in San Diego," but it emphasized that the team "must create other options for itself in the event that an agreement is not reached."
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The Chargers have sought to replace the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium that now stands among the NFL's oldest as other West Coast teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers see sparkling new facilities. They have struggled with a City Hall that has been reluctant to part with public money for a new home.
Last week, Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani told the advisory group the team is "keeping a close eye" on developments in Los Angeles, which has not had an NFL team since the Rams and the Oakland Raiders abandoned Southern California after the 1994 season.
The NFL has expressed an interest in a Los Angeles franchise, but the league has no plans for expansion, meaning an existing team would need to move to Southern California. The NFL has ruled out any team move for the 2015 season, but leaves open the possibility in 2016.
Earlier this month, Inglewood's plan to build an NFL stadium at the Hollywood Park site took a step forward with the verification of petition signatures needed to place the project before voters. The 80,000-seat stadium is part of Hollywood Park Land Co.'s proposal, called City of Champions Revitatlization Project, for a development at the site of the old horse racing track.
The city clerk will forward the resolution to the council at its next scheduled meeting, set for Tuesday, but Mayor James Butts said the Inglewood council will likely hold over action on the project until its March 3 meeting. Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build the stadium on the site, which would include the stadium as part of a sprawling complex that includes homes, offices and entertainment venues.
Los Angeles city officials also have extended an option with the owners of Staples Center to build an 80,000-seat stadium to be known as Farmers Field downtown, next to the 10 and 110 freeway junction, provided a team commits to moving there.
The Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum also could host a team, at least temporarily.