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Stadium foes push drive for charter amendment to bar use of Arundel funds


Opponents of a proposed Redskins stadium in Laurel are vowing to continue their petition drive to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would prohibit the use of county funds for large sports facilities, even though the Anne Arundel County Council voted down the amendment.

Jeanne Mignon, president of Citizens Against the Stadium II, said after the council's Tuesday night vote that her group has nearly half the 10,000 signatures needed to put the charter amendment on the ballot.

"This requires a tremendous amount of work, and it would have been nice to say your representatives helped you do it," Ms. Mignon said.

A resolution that would have placed such a charter amendment on the ballot was rejected by a 6-1 County Council vote.

Council Chairman C. Edward Middlebrooks, who introduced the resolution, cast the lone vote in support. Mr. Middlebrooks is running against Sen. Michael J. Wagner for the Senate seat in District 32, which includes the proposed stadium site.

The resolution would have required a referendum before county money could be used for the planning, design, engineering, land acquisition construction or operation of a professional sports facility with a capacity of 25,000 or more people.

The Redskins, who will foot the $160 million bill for the stadium, are asking the county to pay for $43 million worth of road work and other improvements.

At the public hearing Tuesday, Arundel business leaders argued that 78,600-seat stadium would bring in badly needed tax revenues.

Jeanette D. Wessel, executive vice president of the Anne Arundel Trade Council, said that drafting charter amendments for individual projects would clutter the charter.

Opponents of the stadium arguedthat the matter should be put to a vote. "Let us exercise our constitutional rights on this particular issue," said Levon Parker of Laurel.

A public hearing on the Redskins' zoning request is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday 11 at Meade Senior High School.

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