A proposal to send the Potomac Nationals stadium deal to the voters failed on a tie vote.The Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted to kill a plan to place a stadium referendum on the November ballot after midnight Wednesday, following nearly three hours of discussion.

If it had passed, the minor-league team’s owner Art Silber threatened to walk out of negotiations and sell the team that has played in Woodbridge since 1984.Now, county and team officials, and property owner JBG Companies will continue talks about relocating the team from its current home behind the county government center to Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

The current deal calls for using bonds issued by the county’s Industrial Development Authority to backstop a loan for the construction of the $35 million stadium. That process could take over a year, as the county must complete a bond validation lawsuit, essentially suing itself, to ensure the bonds it issues are legal and valid…

…Negotiations on the new stadium have been ongoing for over a year. The land developer, which called the stadium project unique to the mid-Atlantic region, joined the team in urging a no vote on the referendum.

“We agreed on a process, have worked for more more than a year, and has already spent $1 million. My company is not in the business of elections and trying to convince voters on the value of complicated projects,” said JBG spokesman Tom Sebastian.

A referendum would have provided political cover for the eight politicians elected to the Board of Supervisors. If it had passed, much like previous bond referendums for parks, roads, and libraries, stadium negotiations would have moved forward by mandate from the voters.

“I’m voting no because it represents a 16-week delay in the negotiations with the county, the team, and JBG,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi. “This is an opportunity that defines our community, and I want to be on the right side of investing in our community and being an economic shot in the arm for the community…

 

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