Redskins reject Laurel leaders' call for meeting

July 01, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

About 20 Laurel-area merchants and community leaders, worried about the impact of a proposed NFL football stadium, called yesterday for a meeting with the Redskins next week to discuss their concerns.

The Redskins, who are asking for permission to build a stadium in an industrial zone, say they will not meet with the group until after a July 11 public hearing on a zoning request.

Those attending yesterday's meeting included representatives of several local civic associations, businesses, churches, Citizens Against the Stadium II, the Redskins Community Outreach Group and the city of Laurel.

"We have some concern that if we don't get out as a group and express ourselves as a group, we won't be heard," said Jack Kochen, a representative of Russett Center Ltd. Partnership, which organized the meeting at the Laurel Municipal Center.

Russett is a large housing development east of Laurel. The partnership has appealed an Anne Arundel County decision that granted the Redskins a credit reducing the number of required parking spaces by 25 percent. That appeal is on hold while the zoning process unfolds, said Richard Talkin, a lawyer for Russett.

"They have spent a considerable amount of time going out and making presentations," said Marshall Zinn, a representative of Russett, who wants the Redskins to hold one meeting to which all interested parties are invited.

Walter Lynch, the Redskins' project manager for the stadium, said a meeting now would duplicate the efforts of the Redskins Community Outreach Group, which was formed to identify community concerns.

Dave Adler, who lives in Russett, said at yesterday's meeting that the Redskins should be asked specific, hard-hitting questions.

Any future meeting with them should not be "just another of those touchy-feely meetings where everybody walks out, not knowing what's going on," he said.

During yesterday's meeting, the group assembled a list of questions for the Redskins, including:

* How can local churches cope with stadium traffic on event days?

* What uses, other than football games, are envisioned for the stadium?

* How will emergency vehicles navigate through traffic on event days?

* Who will pay for stadium-related road improvements?

The Redskins have said they will pay for the $160 million stadium.

Road improvements would cost $43 million and would be financed through 8 1/2 -year, interest-bearing bonds issued by Anne Arundel County. Stadium revenues would pay for the bonds. State estimates of the cost of road improvements have been higher.

Yesterday, Mr. Lynch said emergency vehicles would have no trouble getting through traffic on stadium event days.

"We will have open routes for emergency vehicles," he said, adding that the stadium developers must design for emergency access.

He said the Redskins are working on responses to other questions and that some will be answered at the July 11 public hearing.

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