Laurel council tables measure against stadium

July 27, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

In a major about-face, the Laurel City Council has tabled a sweeping resolution that would have condemned the Redskins' proposed football stadium just east of town.

Four of five council members supported the measure at a July 7 work session, but the council voted 3 to 1 with one abstention to table the measure after a public hearing Monday. Another public hearing was held on the resolution July 18.

"That was a win on our part," said Walter Lynch, the Redskins' project manager for the stadium. "What we've said all along is we want to get out to the public and communicate our plans, because we think we've got a great project."

Mary Lehman, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against the Stadium II, said the Redskins were practicing "the politics of intimidation," by threatening not to work with the city if the resolution passed.

The Laurel resolution said the 78,600-seat, $160 million stadium would harm the quality of life in the city, and that any revenue from the stadium would be spent on services to support the facility.

The measure asked Anne Arundel to delay action on the stadium until all traffic counts could be completed. It also called for new taxes on stadium events, strict limits on the stadium's hours of operation, and more road improvements than the Redskins had proposed.

The council's attitude adjustment came after it received a last-minute shower of attention.

"They [the Redskins] pledged their full cooperation, on the record," Laurel Mayor Frank Casula said yesterday.

The team promised that one of its top attorneys would act as a personal liaison between the city of Laurel and Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, he said.

Some council members still worry about stadium traffic clogging roads and about fans parking in Laurel neighborhoods, Mayor Casula said.

He said he will testify on these concerns at a continuing hearing on the stadium proposal at Meade Senior High School, and the city's traffic expert will testify about stadium-related congestion.

The Redskins are seeking a special exception to allow construction of the stadium in land zoned for industrial use and several exceptions on matters such as parking, landscaping and the amount of time before project completion.

In yesterday's testimony, the Redskins' storm water management expert, Patrick Jennings, said the stadium site has adequate water and sewer service.

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