Santa Clara may put 49ers stadium plan on November ballot

When San Franciscans wake up Nov. 5, they will have a new president but they may also be down one legendary football franchise.

The Santa Clara City Council voted late Tuesday night to begin formal negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers to build a new stadium in the South Bay city for the football team.

Officials said negotiations should last four to six months and any potential deal between the city and team would go before the voters for approval. The timeline makes a June vote “extremely unlikely,” and a Nov. 4 vote “more likely,” according to Carol McCarthy, assistant city manager of Santa Clara.

The team and Santa Clara met Wednesday to begin those negotiations, despite the fact that Santa Clara has said they are $51 million short of the $222 million the 49ers have asked the city to contribute to the $854 million stadium project.

According to Santa Clara officials, the city has $136 million in redevelopment and utility funds to contribute and a proposed hotel tax fee in the area of the planned stadium site would raise another $35 million.

Niners spokesman Pete Hillan said the negotiations would include how the two sides might close that $51 million gap but said it was too early to talk about any specific methods.

The Santa Clara City Council will decide next Tuesday on the type of ballot measure it would pursue and what ballot it might go on, McCarthy said.

Team officials continue to say that keeping the 49ers in San Francisco is a backup plan only, to be considered if negotiations don’t work out in Santa Clara.

Nonetheless, San Francisco is moving forward with a plan to redevelop Candlestick Point and Hunters Point Shipyard, with space for a possible stadium. Additionally, a signature campaign is in the works to put a measure on the June ballot that would give public approval to the project, which also includes up to 10,000 housing units and 350 acres of open space.

The campaign, which needs to gather at least 7,474 signatures by Feb. 4, is getting “strong support” from neighborhood residents, said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the developer, Lennar BVHP.

dsmith@examiner.com

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