Residents of Pasadena, California, will file into the city hall on Monday night to make their voices heard as the City Council begins a discussion about whether or not to open up the Rose Bowl to professional football. Monday's public hearing, reports the Los Angeles Times, is the first step toward passing a city ordinance allowing the facility to be used by an NFL team.
With the NFL eyeing the L.A. market again, the Rose Bowl is one location that could temporarily house a pro team while a new stadium is built. That team could be in a temporary home for as long as five years. To allow that, Pasadena would need to approve an increase in the number of large events that can be held at the Rose Bowl from 12 to 25. A city ordinance would also need to approve an environmental impact study along with "a statement of overriding considerations."
Critics contend that bringing an NFL team to the Rose Bowl would have a negative impact on the community, inviting traffic snarls, loud noise and an imposition on adjacent public lands. Proponents at the municipal level see a means to raise the funds necessary to close a budget gap of $30 million in ongoing maintenance for the site.
Authorizing the Rose Bowl as temporary housing for an NFL team is just one of the many moving parts in the league's ultimate goal of getting a team back in Los Angeles. The debate in Pasadena is not part of a larger plot, just a city seeing the writing on the wall.
At the October league meetings in Chicago, commission Roger Goodell made it clear that the league does want a team back in the L.A. market, but also acknowledged that it would require patience and favorable circumstances. The current options for stadium projects there are all facing hurdles, and the league may be most interested in a joint venue in Chavez Ravine with Dodger Stadium.
The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams in the summer outlining the process for teams interested in relocating to L.A. A move could come as soon as 2013, with the Chargers being the one team most ready to wiggle out of its current stadium. Most consider a move that soon impossible.