Stadium would improve Patuxent, hearing told

July 28, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

The Redskins' plans for an NFL stadium in Laurel would improve water quality in the Patuxent River, the team's aquatic ecology expert testified yesterday.

Storm-water management facilities planned for the stadium would reduce pollution from runoff from the site as well as from Laurel Race Course and its stables, rather than increase it, Anthony Janicki said on the 12th day of hearings on the proposal.

Stadium opponents picked at the Redskins' claims, questioning whether they had taken into consideration the wetlands acreage that would be filled in.

The Redskins are seeking a special exception for a 78,600-seat, $160 million stadium in an industrial zone on Brock Bridge Road. They also are seeking several variances on parking, time allowed for construction and landscaping.

Mr. Janicki predicted that nitrogen reaching the Patuxent River from runoff would drop by 39 percent, phosphorus by 44 percent and sediment by 79 percent because of the stadium.

He said the stadium would not threaten the glassy darter, an endangered species, because the fish has not been found in the Patuxent River since 1967.

Also yesterday, Reed Huppman, the Redskins' wetlands expert, said the site contains 35.4 acres of wetlands, of which 3.4 acres would be destroyed by the stadium. To compensate, the Redskins plan to create 5 acres of wetland on the site and about 1 acre off-site.

He said the Redskins would clear 52.2 acres of forest on the site and would plant 44.8 acres, some off-site, in accordance with a state conservation formula.

Stadium foes probed for weaknesses in the Redskins' case during cross-examination.

Richard Talkin, a lawyer for Russett, a housing development near the site, asked whether Mr. Huppman had considered the wetlands that would be destroyed by road improvements off-site. Mr. Huppman said he had not.

Thomas Dernoga, a lawyer for Citizens Against the Stadium II, asked whether some wetlands destruction could be avoided by moving parking spaces or shrinking the size of the stadium.

The team expects to open its new home in time for the 1996 National Football League season, but Mr. Huppman testified it could take nine months to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fill any wetlands.

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