Angels baseball owner Arte Moreno is slated to present plans for developing the 153-acre Angel Stadium land by the end of the month to Anaheim, over a year earlier than deadlines call for in the sale agreement. 

Moreno will also submit the development agreement sometime in September, if the Councilmembers okay extending the deadline, according to a staff report

“Staff views this approach positively because it will provide a more comprehensive context when the items are reviewed during the public hearing process and will likely accelerate the steps leading to the close of escrow,” reads the staff report. 

Councilmembers will vote Tuesday on a letter of understanding from Moreno’s development company, SRB Management, a freshly minted company registered in Henderson, Nevada. Moreno, his wife head up the company, according to a timeline provided by the city

“The changes would push City Council consideration of follow-up agreements from June to September while speeding up payment of a $10 million deposit to the city along with the earlier filing of a master site plan,” reads a news release on the city’s website. “The changes would also quicken the overall timetable for closing the sale of the 153-acre stadium property.”

Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said the master plan has been worked on since last year. 

“We continue to move forward even in these unprecedented times. We believe this new timeline is good news for Anaheim and provides the ability to accelerate the purchase and payments as the city looks to recover. In terms of the pandemic impact, it did slow down discussions and the revised timeline is reflective of that,” Garvey wrote in a Friday email. 

The City Council voted to begin the land sale process to Moreno in December. The starting price is $325 million, which could be millions lower depending on what types of community benefits and affordable housing are negotiated for with Moreno. Councilmembers Denise Barnes and Jose Moreno dissented. 

Councilmembers didn’t formally discuss the land sale until a public hearing at a Dec. 20 special meeting, despite having all last year to negotiate a land sale or lease. 

Negotiations didn’t formally begin until Nov. 15 and SRB Management was created five days later. According to a city document tracking the progress of stadium negotiations, the two negotiating parties met Nov. 15, 22 and 26. 

The stadium sale proposal was first made public Dec. 4 and the Council voted to begin the land sale 16 days later. 

It took 12 days longer for the City Councilmembers to decide to name the second Monday in October Indigenous People’s Day than it did to enter a stadium land sale agreement. 

The speed of the land sale began drawing criticism throughout Anaheim and Orange County. 

Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), a former mayor, and Sen. Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana), sent a letter to the City Council Thursday criticizing parts of the stadium sale proposal and urging the Council to postpone its decision until more details are hammered out. 

An Orange County Register December editorial hammered Anaheim’s stadium sale proposal for moving too quickly and lacking details. 

And former Mayor Tom Tait, along with Daly, wrote an opinion article on Voice of OC criticizing the sale agreement because the $325 million starting price tag isn’t the final price. 

After the sale agreement was made public, Councilmembers Barnes and Moreno began raising questions about the deal. Moreno was convinced the Council majority violated state transparency law and said they asked virtually no questions during closed the two door discussions of the sale proposal before making it public. 

City officials have repeatedly said there was no transparency law violation and the city stands behind the process. 

The speed of the stadium negotiations and resulting land sale also raised red flags for the Homeless People’s Task Force, an Anaheim group of activists who advocate for homeless people and other city issues. 

The group filed a lawsuit against the city for allegedly violating state transparency law. 

Very little was said about the stadium or what Councilmembers were looking to get from negotiations leading up to the Dec. 4 announcement. 

The only time Councilmembers publicly talked about what they wanted to see from stadium negotiations before the Dec. 20 land sale vote was a vague August discussion, which centered around market-rate prices for rent or a land sale and no public subsidies. Nothing was formally voted on during that meeting. 

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC staff reporter. You can reach him at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio

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