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22 February 2006

SJ Ballpark EIR available

As promised, San Jose's draft environmental impact report is now available. The links lead one to just the table of contents right now, but I'll have the entire 365-page tome soon for dissection. The Merc's Barry Witt got a look at it and picked up some points about light and noise, which would affect the Delmas Park and St. Leo's neighborhoods immediately to the east and west of the ballpark, respectively.



The ballpark's northeast orientation would make the seating bowl act as a horn, sending noise directly into Delmas Park. The recommended way to mitigate this is to provide noise insulation for affected residents. Light would also be an issue because standards could be well over 250 feet above street level.



There are plenty of issues with the plan, and I'll go into those in more detail soon. For the time being, I've consolidated the bulk of the EIR (sans appendices) into a single, huge (38 MB) file for your consumption.

Enjoy.

40 comments:

tony d. said...

I often wonder what Lew Wolff thinks of all this San Jose Ballpark planning. It's exciting to see all this "progress" (EIR's, land acquisitions, computer renderings)...yet as a San Jose supporter, I am a realist, and the sad fact is that we are still part of Giants "territory" and Lew Wolff has stated he's committed to building a ballpark in Oakland/Alameda Co.. Great "progress" for my hometown, but sometimes I wish Wolff would just come out, provide SJ supporters with some closure, and say "I'm not moving the A's down there, period! Stop all this ballpark nonsense." Any idea's as to why he hasn't said this?

Kevin said...

Tony,

Good point. I often wondered that myself. Or even privately tell the leaders of San Jose that he has no intention of going against MLB. All the more reason for me to believe that he does have his eye on San Jose, and that he has a plan to resolve the issue of the Giants' territorial rights.

Georob said...

And of course, this validates the arguments of the "conspiracy theorists" that claim that San Jose is, and always has been Lew Wolff's final destination.

Despite everything that's been said to the contrary by MLB, the A's, and the Giants.

murf said...

Even if he has no real intention of attempting a move to SJ, Lew would never make a statement, publicly or privately to SJ boosters/pols, that unequivocally removes SJ as an option prior to a ballpark deal with another city. He is calmly watching things proceed in SJ, knowing that if the planets align he would be welcomed by a willing City Council, an eager business community, and public subsidies. If SJ does the legwork to get a ballot measure passed successfully and has a prime location bought and paid for, Lew suddenly has a powerfull negotiation tool, even if he never intended to consider SJ. He is doing a good job of watching carefully, but saying nothing.

Marine Layer said...

Every city that enters these types of proceedings knows that they can be "used." Few are ever promised anything because all parties are aware of the uncertainties, whether because of politics, finances, or the sports franchises' intentions. It makes little sense to dwell on conspiracy theories because there is so little evidence supporting such notions.

jeff said...

Isn't the first rule of conspiracies to deny that they exist? lol. Isn't that followed by explanations as to why they can't possibly be true....and then utter shock when the "conspirasts" were right? Are they not then usually explained as a confluence of fortuitous events? Sorry, I still believe we make our own "luck". And Lew seems to be awfully lucky in love....and bidness.

But then again, SJ or Fremont will do nicely. Good old competition is afoot in the bay area, and Lew will win either way.

tony d. said...

Good to see you posting Murf! As for cities being "used," the devils advocate in me has thought that perhaps Wolff wants the Diridon South site for other purposes...A FABULOUS SANTANA ROW EAST!! With upscale shops, condos, hotel and office space. The faster SJ acquires the site, the faster Wolff and his redevelopment partners can make their killing. But really, in the end I hope the conspiracy's come to fruition...those planets will look mighty nice aligned over a San Jose Ballpark!

Marine Layer said...

Last week I posted an example of how Wolff did not get what he wanted in the end when he was forced to pull out of the Downtown LA Hilton project. That hotel's price tag was just as much as a new ballpark in the Bay Area. Sorry folks, I've talked off the record to various people on the inside, and nothing I've heard leads me to think conspiracy - in fact, it's moved me further away from the idea. But go ahead, indulge in it if you like.

As for a Santana Row East idea - Lew's complaints about downtown San Jose these days are that there's too much office space, too many hotel rooms, and Santana Row, which sucked people away from downtown. I don't see how building another version of Santana Row with even more competition for his existing downtown interests helps him.

Let's remember that there's a situation in which Wolff may not find a good situation to build a ballpark anywhere in the Bay Area due to costs or limited opportunities. Will the Vegas conspiracy theorists rise up, even though there's little to support their cause right now?

tony d. said...

Rhamesis,
I've been led to believe that Wolff would finance a new "Bay Area" ballpark with the proceeds $ from surrounding developement (condos, retail, etc.)...Mark Purdy gave us the example of the Pittsburgh Penguins private financing scenario about a month ago. Was Wolff going to pay for his LA Hilton with his own money and surrounding developments providing financing? I'll have to go back and read the post again. As for the Santana Row East idea, that was just thinking way outside the box...Diridon South would probably wind up being the residential development currently proposed by SJ. I personally think Wolff would sell the A's by 2010 then move them himself, but that's just my opinion.

Jeff said...

I know the "conspiracy theorist" label gets thrown around pretty freely....and I don't neccessarily suscribe to the idea that Wolfe/Fisher have a specific hidden agenda. On the other hand, I would not consider either one foolish....especially concerning matters of money. But even from my limited perspective, I have never thought a ballpark in Oakland was a feasible idea. The city lacks the political will to meet the demands of the new ownership. If fact, my hunch is that any politician even appearing to appease another sports owner at public expense would soon find himself unemployed in the city of Oakland. My intuition seems to be accurate up to this point....which leads me to my main point. Wolfe is a smart man, and he has a LOT of smart people working for him. How would it be possible for them not to reach the same conclusion? Seriously, is there anyone out there who believes Oakland will lay down a wad of cash to keep the A's? I don't see that happening under any circumstances. I also know that Wolfe must maintain a specified public stance for proprieties sake....especially in relation to MLB and the other owners. Does that make me a "conspiracy theorist"? It's plainly obvious that Wolfe is no longer quoting the mantra that the A's wish to remain in Oakland....he's now expanding to "remaining in Alameda county". Hopefully this means the Fremont WILL get a fair shake at securing the team. But failing that, is there any doubt that there is third option in the contingency plan? I guess what I'm saying is, yes, there is no "conspiracy", but there is in fact a "business plan"....with options and contingencies. No good business man is going to lay all his cards out for all to see...that would give opponents the leverage they might need to thwart him. I do not believe he is out to hurt anyone...but he does have a goal in mind.

Out of curiosity Marine Layer, what sort of circumstances do you forsee which would preclude the A's from being able to build a ballpark anywhere in the bay area?

Georob said...

The only way I see to stop the San Jose speculation would be for Lew Wolff to say something like this:

"If we cannot find a suitable location within the East Bay, we will look outside of California."

That would not only squash San Jose, but Sacramento as well. However, Wolff's not going to "burn bridges" with any locality, which is the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, it means that there's always going to be people that doubt his sincerity.
Therefore, the "conspiracy theories" will continue.

As for Jeff's question about what might prevent the A's from building anywhere in the Bay Area, we techincally may already be there, as:

1) Oakland hasn't the land, money, or political will to make it happen

2) San Jose is prevented by being in Giants' territory.

3) Fremont or any other suburb might not be able to put something together.

But as Rhamesis has pointed out, Portland, Vegas and all the other "wannabe" baseball markets have issues, too. And if we're to believe the data, they don't even come close to having the income needed to support a team.

Marine Layer said...

That Oakland criteria you cite, Rob, applies to all cities including Fremont and San Jose. If there isn't political will to do the land deal in won't get done. If there isn't enough land to build all of the ancillary stuff around the ballpark it also won't get done. That last argument is one issue that San Jose has to face. If Wolff wants to build some ~3000 condos surrounding the ballpark, it's going to take some very creative planning and land acquisition since there's a limited amount of space in Diridon/Arena once a ballpark is constructed.

Anonymous said...

Concerning, the constant mentioning of the lack of political will in Oakland, to keep the A’s in Oakland. I received a personal phone call this past Saturday from Oakland City Council President, Ignacio DeLaFuente, concerning the perceived lack of Oakland interest. I'm an Oakland resident who has written several letters to all who is involved in the A's dealings (I want to keep them in Oakland). It's just that perceived. From the horses mouth, there is still an A's employee working at Oakland City hall. IDLF and the rest of Oakland are working actively with the A's in keeping the team, whether that goes anywhere is to been seen. You are right about the space issue in Oakland, there isn't much, but they are going to offer the HomeBase site, and IDLF personal favorite the Oak to Ninth space. Wolff is in a peculiar spot, if he stops negots. with Oakland, he may be booted altogether from the Coliseum, which I would support wholeheartedly. Take for what it's worth, Oakland has the political will to keep the team in Oakland and it's a high priority for. We just don't do it through the press.

Georob said...

How can the A's be "booted" from the Coliseum? They have a lease that can be extended yearly through 2010. Granted, if they stop negotiations it'll be uncomfortable, but it's not like Oakland didn't have a chance.

Or is there indeed a way that Oakland can force the A's out early?

Anonymous said...

The chance of booting/relocating 70+ buisnesses out and build a BART station. Hey, thanks Wolff! Wait, we have do it in 8 months as well. That sounds like the chance of a lifetime. Maybe ol Lew would like to have Oakland bulldoze the Tibune tower or some other historical landmarks for a downtown ballpark. Yeah, if that was our only chance, it was pretty weak one. Why couldn't Oakland boot the A's out, we are the landlords. The A's could leave the lease with a $400,000 buy out. Why couldn't Oakland/alameda say you can't play here any longer How long does it take to build a stadium? 3 yrs? We have been the A's doormat since the Schott own the team. Let them play their games at San Jose Muni.

Marine Layer said...

Every news report I've read says that the options are "club options" not "city options" or "authority options".

I hope they're able to pull the HomeBase plan together. Can't build 3,000 units there, but 1,200 or more definitely.

Anonymous said...

The only good thing about the Homebase site is that, if Wolff decided to build a ballpark there, the A's would remain in the Bay. That's about it however, as that site stinks to high heaven! And it's not just the smell coming from the storm "sewer." I frequent the area not only for A's games but Raiders as well...the place gives me the creeps, and no amount of money will bring the area up to par with SOMA/South Beach. It's to bad Oakland couldn't provide the A's with a prime site, say Uptown, the waterfront, or at JLS...the A's deserve so much better than decrepit Home Base! Oh Well, what can you do.

Anonymous said...

I started this out by asking what Lew Wolff thought of San Jose's plans, but I think the real question is...WHAT DOES REAL OWNER JOHN FI$HER THINK OF ALL THIS SJ BALLPARK PLANNING? He's the man with ca$h (lots of it!)...so I imagine he'll have some say (if not the final say) in the A's future, whether it's Oakland, Fremont, or San Jose (money talk$!)

tony d. said...

I was the last anonymous.

Anonymous said...

And I was the other anonymous

jeff said...

I don't know how seriously to take the post concerning Oakland. It would be easier to believe if there was event a hint that the city council was actually interested in keeping the A's.

Like I have said before, a lot of very smart and influential people are involved in trying to relocate the A's to SJ. I doubt they are doing this in the belief that they have little or no chance of succeeding. MLB may spout off about territorial rights within the framework of the league, but opposing a political entity the size of SJ is an entirely different matter. If the city decides to take them to task over the issue, they are quite capable of inflicting a lot of harm on MLB with little or no risk to the city. After all, what can MLB do to the city that it's not already doing.....deny them a franchise?

A whole lot of factors are in play, by a wide range of intelligent people. I cannot believe they are doing this without information that the rest of us may not be privy to. I know, I know, this sounds conspiratorial....but I cannot believe that smart people are doing the things they are doing without at least a reasonable possibility existing that they may achieve what they are after.

Georob said...

Rhamesis, perhaps this would be a good time to talk about Baseball's Anti-Trust exemption and the role it plays in regards to San Jose.

It seems as if MLB can do whatever it wants for whatever reason it sees fit. And even IF Lew Wolff or the City of SJ wanted to sue MLB over territorial rights, the Anti-Trust exemption would probably stand in the way of a favorable court ruling anyway.

tony d. said...

Jeff,
I would add that some very smart, influential, and RICH $$$ people are involved in trying to relocate the
A's to San Jose! Cunneen with Cisco, Mulcahy with the affluent DiNapoli Family, Stone, Cortese, McEnery just to name a few (I won't include Ronzales because I've had it with that guy). That's a lot of influence (and possibly a little greed) to confront the greed and power of Magowan/MLB. Of course, this doesn't mean that any conspiracy exists or that the A's are destined for San Jose.

Jeff said...

Rob,
I may be off base but I am under the impression that the Anti-Trust exemption is the very thing that gives the city of SJ the leverage they may require in forcing MLB's hand. Any court case would certainly involve SJ challenging the exemption itself. This country has always looked askance at monopolies, and the idea that a monopoly is using it's power to inhibit a municipality will probably not play well with a Federal court. I am no attorney, but I know that MLB has gone to great lengths to avoid court, especially where it may concern the exemption (Sherman anti trust?). My guess is that a "compromise" would be reached long before a court case could be adjudicated. Most likely the compromise would consist of the 28 other owners throwing Mcgowan under the bus. Not likely they would risk significant financial losses for the questionable benefit of protecting the "interests" of the Giants. Especially considering that the caes would most certainly be framed around a breach of contract by the Giants with the city. After all, the rights originally belonged to the A's and were ceded to the Giants contingent upon them building a ballpark. That breach has had the effect of nuetralizing the city from ever getting it's own team. True, the voters rejected a subsidized park for the Giants, but they went ahead and built a park with their own money in SF. Why didn't they build it in SJ with their own funds? Was that option ever given to SJ?

Things will most certainly get interesting in the next few months. Can't wait to see it all play out!!

tony d. said...

You the man Jeff! I believe businessman Mr. Piazza of St. Petersburgh Florida was ready to take the Anti-Trust exemption to court when MLB denied him the sale of the Giants back in the early 90's. I don't know the specifics of the case, but I believe Piazza offered more $$$ for the Giants than Magowans group...but MLB rejected the sale because they didn't want to see SF loose the team. Piazza was finally muzzled with some large wad of $$$, and the exemption survives to this day. I'm with you Rob...if you can Rhamesis, enlighted us on the insanity of the Anti-Trust exemption.

Marine Layer said...

I've said this before: Litigation is the nuclear option and no one wants to go there. MLB responds to carrots, not sticks (except in the case of steroids). No one running for political office in San Jose or Santa Clara County wants to be known for spending taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits regarding MLB's antitrust exemption.

Georob said...

Mark my words. Some day, somehow, someONE will decide to challenge the status quo of MLB and truly put to the test the sheer nonsense of the anti-trust exemption.

Just the thought of this man's name causes many of us to become ill, but I'm sorry: Baseball needs an Al Davis to fight the BS.

Jeff said...

But that's exactly my point ML, no one has to actually take MLB to court. They will most certainly be amicable to compromise long before any litigation is brought to bear. I understand Rob's frustration with the status quo, and I believe that it's that very frustration that will act as a catalyst for MLB avoiding court if at all possible. A serious challenge to the exemption will almost surely be successful....and MLB is surely aware of that fact. I have to disagree with you concerning the stick and carrot approach with MLB. If anything, their history would seem to indicate that it is nothing but the stick, or money, which will motivate them to seek mutually satisfactory compromises. And usually in that order. Their collective resistance to change attitude is legendary. The thing is, the city has ABSOLUTELY nothing to lose....and everything to gain.

For the life of me, I cannot see SJ, with its huge potential, left untapped much longer.

tony d. said...

Amen to that Jeff!! Now, about those NIMBY's living in DSJ...

Jeff said...

Tony,
Those NIMBY crowds will be the very ones that have to be won over. ML's review of the EIR seems to go a long way towards alleviating their concerns....especially noise. If Wolfe can sell them on a potential boost to property values if the park is built will also go a long way in quieting down the periphery of that particular interest. I can't blame them for their concerns though. But on the other a hand, the benefits could possibly out weigh the negatives.

Marine Layer said...

Jeff, the litigation threat only carries weight when there's serious money and effort behind it. The team owners can't sue MLB, so they're automatically eliminated. The city isn't going to do it because they're strapped and it would be considered wasteful. Anyone that wants to be a part of a future ownership group wouldn't do it either. So that leaves a private citizen or group that not only has the cash but also legal resources to challenge MLB, which has the richestt and most well-heeled lobby in pro sports. Baseball San Jose isn't in that position. It would take a real maverick to make the challenge. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group might have the capability to do it, but would they have the will?

Then there's the issue of time. A lawsuit would not proceed quickly since MLB would seek ways to drag out the proceedings as long as possible. Even if San Jose won at the end of that protracted battle, then what? The A's might have already found another home by then.

Even if the threat were a bluff, MLB would be able to quickly assess the seriousness of a lawsuit and call that bluff. The Tampa situation was a lot more complicated than just Piazza threatening to sue. MLB was going through significant money issues at the time and franchise fees allowed them to take care of some huge legal bills. That problem does not exist today as MLB has a huge war chest at its disposal for whatever comes, whether it's a lawsuit or a work stoppage.

There's one way to get Delmas Park residents onboard besides the measures I identified: Give them the park they were promised.

jeff said...

You raise very good points, and a successful suit would almost certainly require the city to either be a signatory or a participant. However, their odds of prevailing are quite high. The city would easily shift the financial burden of the suit onto MLB. I agree their are serious concerns as to why they shouldn't proceed, but if they're left with no other recourse, what does the city have to lose?

I agree that it is the "nuclear option", and one I don't see happening, unless MLB stonewalls the city on the territorial issue. I believe if MLB thinks the city is half serious about pursuing litigation, their attitude will change drastically. The "threat" would involve mainly perception at the MLB corporate offices.

I don't know really, I guess it comes down to how bad the city really wants to be held hostage by sports leagues dictating what they can and can't have.

Hey, do you think this whole ballpark issue has finally achieved "critical mass"? As the deadline approaches, what are the odds that things start happening swiftly? I for one cannot wait to see how things play out. Care to thow some speculative odds out there? My guess would be,

1. Team stays in Oakland with new park 20%. And falling.

2. Move to Fremont (Alameda county) 35%. And Rising

3. Move to San Jose 30%. Holding

4. Move to another undisclosed location in the bay 5%. Holding

5. Move to site outside the bay. 10%. Holding.

Anyone else care to throw out their best guess?

Anonymous said...

Alternate odds (with one more choice), let's say, by 2015:

Stay in Oakland with new park: 10%

Stay in Oakland in old park: 10%

Fremont: 15%

San Jose: 50%

Out of area: 15%

I think Fremont's enjoying a moment in the sun right now, but that's misleading. In the long run it's the "all hat and no cattle" city of the bunch.

Georob said...

I think we just have to sit tight and see what Lew Wolff has to say around April 1st when he has to give a status update to MLB.

Now, it could be that Bud Selig gives Wolff an extension on that April deadline. (And I have to wonder if that was the "something I asked the commissioner for" referenced in Wolff's recent interview with Blez on Athletics Nation)

Or, it may be that Wolff finally and formally declares that the Oakland situation is grim enough to where he can safely say that the A's are now at "Option 2" status. (The greater East Bay)

As long as Oakland remains the "status quo", too many just aren't paying attention to this. But once it's official that the A's no longer consider Oakland their permanent home, I think you'll see many people jump off the sidelines and into the fray.

And when that happens, I hope your server can handle the volume, Rhamesis.

Kevin said...

Rhamesis,

I know you'd prefer to remain neutral with regard to all this ballpark stuff., But assuming Oakland doesn't make a move by April 1st. What's the process the A's have to go through in order to have MLB consider abolishing the Giants' rights to Santa Clara? I assume they have to petition MLB. Are there regular meets of the relocation committee? I guess I'm asking what kind of timeframe would we be looking at with regard to MLB possibly abolishing the Giants' rights?

Marine Layer said...

The deadlines teams set are often arbitrary and artificial. Should Opening Day come and go without anything happen in Oakland, Wolff /Fisher will be able to focus on Fremont and wherever else in Alameda County they want to consider. They may announce another deadline, again arbitrary, upon which a deal has to be made. They may decide that they'll look at other markets. But that's up to the commish, upon whom they'll need to get permission.

Here's my take on how this would proceed:
San Jose won't become an official topic of discussion until all avenues in the East Bay are exhausted. Should that occur, Wolff and Selig would start a dialog with Jerry Reinsdorf, who heads the relocation committee. Then they would start canvassing the rest of the owners about a
possible indemnification package for Magowan and Co. This is where it gets dicey because it's quite possible that teams in the big markets are already opposed to the A's moving to San Jose. The argument would have to be framed in a way that suggests that a move to SJ benefits the league in the long run in terms of total revenue while protecting each team's market - not the easiest argument to make. People bring up this 3/4 owner vote requirement, but that's not how Selig works. He wants consensus, and that doesn't mean 23 votes, it means 30 votes. He was disappointed when the Expos-to-DC situation netted a 29-1 vote. Selig hates discord and won't really tackle a subject unless it's been thoroughly vetted, making the vote itself almost a formality. This, incidentallly, is why the conspiracy idea is so full of holes. If they want to guarantee an outcome, why would they let it come down to two voting actions (owners, citizens of San Jose)? That's an enormous gamble.

Should all of these issues be resolved, the whole matter would be wrapped up by the 2007 winter meetings, which would pave the way for a move and construction to begin.

Jeff said...

It may be that it wouldn't be such a hard argument to make. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the revenue sharing plan allows each team to deduct the amount going towards payment on their ballpark. In Mcgowans case that is probably enough to negate any payment to the league. Now, the bay is already a two market team. No one is talking of adding a team to an existing market. All they would really be after is a re-alignment. In fact, the A's would be moving FURTHER away. Contingent on the move may be cash for the Giants in which to pay down their debt load. This would allow them to be contributors to the revenue sharing instead of takers. This is good for the other owners, as they recieve more cash. It could be good for the Giants, depending on how much of their debt could be retired.

All this is speculation, I really have no idea if the Giants are "winners or loosers" in the revenue sharing system currently in place. But it sounds good....no??

tony d. said...

R.M.,
I think Jeff brings up a good point regarding an A's hypo move to San Jose. The Bay Area is already a two team market, with the A's possibly relocating within that market...it's not as if San Jose is trying to get the Marlins. I've said this before, but an A's move to San Jose is more akin to the Mets moving to Brooklyn, or the Angels moving to San Bernardino. Would the owners really have a problem with the A's moving further from the Giants, especially if the move put the A's in the BLACK $$$ in terms of revenue (and the Giants were given a sweet indemnification package)? MLB can't ignore the potential $$$ of the nations 10th largest city forever!

Georob said...

One small problem: In the case of both NY and LA, you are dealing with a SINGLE market shared by two teams. Not so here.

Lines have been clearly drawn that says the A's have Alameda and Contra Costa, and the Giants have pretty much the rest. It's ludicrous, but if I'm the Giants I say it's legally binding until someone makes me an offer I can't refuse

Jeff said...

Rob,

That makes me awfully curious as to how the Angels were allowed into LA to begin with. New York has always been a multiple team market, keeping in mind that the Dodgers and Giants were once there together. NY was without a National League franchise for only a short time. How were the Mets given a "market share" in a single market? Also, do you know if this works the same way in Chicago? Truthfully, if what your saying is accurate, it would seem to me that the Giants legal position is even more tenuous than I thought. It is exponentially more difficult to defend a "double standard", especially if your market is the lone exception and you are the sole beneficiary of the double standard. While ML doubts that a legal battle will ensue, I continue to hold reservations. I agree with him that it is unlikely, but I also believe that if the city pushes forcefully, MLB will fold like a house of cards and the Giants territorial rights will evaporate into the nether region from which they sprang.