Stadium hearing suspended foes will study data

July 14, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

The public hearing on Redskins' owner Jack Kent Cooke's proposal to build a $160 million stadium in Laurel was suspended yesterday afternoon to give opponents time to pore over two boxes of documents turned over to them by the team.

Robert C. Wilcox, the Anne Arundel County administrative officer who is presiding at the hearing, said stadium opponents may cross-examine the Redskins' traffic and parking specialists when the hearing resumes tomorrow at 9 a.m.

"This could have been avoided if it was given earlier," Mr. Wilcox said of the documents.

"It was only requested a few days ago," responded Redskins' lawyer Harry Blumenthal.

The Redskins are seeking a special exception allowing them to build a 78,600-seat stadium in an industrial zone and seven variances from county codes on parking and other matters.

In yesterday's testimony, Redskins' traffic expert Martin Wells asked Mr. Wilcox to approve variances reducing the number and width of parking spaces.

Mr. Wells also detailed the team's plan to limit traffic volume with parking restrictions, charter buses, park-and-ride buses and MARC trains.

Mr. Wilcox appeared skeptical, however. "If any of these things does not come to fruition, does this house of cards collapse?" he asked.

Mr. Wells responded that the Redskins' plan has a good deal of flexibility and would encourage the use of mass transit, car pools and early arrivals.

Also yesterday, Walter Lynch, the Redskins' project manager for the stadium, said the Redskins asked Tuesday for a postponement of a Howard County zoning case on a proposal to move Laurel Race Course stables to Howard County from Anne Arundel to make room for the stadium. The case was originally scheduled to be heard last night.

Redskins and racetrack officials said they want to have Anne Arundel matters settled before taking up the Howard case.

On Monday, Mr. Wilcox refused to consider an alternate site plan showing where the Redskins would place the stables if Howard County does not approve the move. He said Anne Arundel officials received the alternate plan on Friday and had not had a chance to review it.

Howard County Zoning Board Chairman Paul Farragut said yesterday the panel will not consider the stable zoning case until after the first of the year.

"We've got them on the run," Walter Maloney, a spokesman for Citizens Against the Stadium II, said yesterday. With the Howard County zoning case postponed, he said, the site plan on the table in the Anne Arundel County hearing "isn't worth a plugged nickel."

Thomas Dernoga, a lawyer for CATS II, agreed. "It sure puts the whole thing in limbo."

Mr. Wilcox said he may accept the alternate site plan showing the stables in Anne Arundel County if county officials are able to review it before the Redskins rest their case.

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