Inglewood NFL stadium plan advances as petition signatures verified

L.A. County officials verify there are enough petition signatures to put Inglewood stadium plan on the ballot

Plans to build an NFL-quality football stadium in Inglewood cleared another hurdle Thursday as election officials confirmed that enough petition signatures had been verified to put the initiative on the ballot.

The Inglewood City Council also has the option to approve the plan outright, possibly later this month

A group financed by Hollywood Park Land Co., which hopes to build an 80,000-seat NFL-caliber stadium at the site of the old racetrack, submitted more than 20,000 signatures supporting the necessary zoning changes for the project.

The Los Angeles County registrar's office verified about 11,000 signatures, surpassing the 9,000 needed to move forward, Inglewood City Clerk Yvonne Horton said Thursday.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, who endorses the project, said he was not surprised. 

"It has been clear to me from the beginning that the community support for this modification is popular by an overwhelming number of the populace," he said.  

Officials close to the project have expressed hope that the stadium plan is a first step toward bringing back an NFL team to the Los Angeles area.

The developers aim to slice through red tape that normally entangles major projects -- often for years -- by using a quirk in the way the state election and environmental laws work together.

They have proposed zoning changes for the stadium through a ballot initiative, which would allow them to skip lengthy reviews that civic and environmental activists say protect surrounding neighborhoods.

The next step requires that the city clerk prepare a report in time for the Inglewood City Council to certify the signatures at the Feb. 24 council meeting. Butts said there would be an opportunity for public comment and input.  

The city has ordered studies of economic and environmental effects of the stadium and they are expected to ready at the next city council meeting, he said.

The Inglewood council could adopt the initiative outright at that meeting or place it on a ballot this spring, he said.

"I'm leaning toward whatever would get us down the road the fastest," he said. 

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