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Redskins to buy land for parking


Redskins officials said yesterday that they intend to buy land to provide 3,000 additional parking spaces at the site of their xTC proposed stadium in Laurel and have asked the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals to postpone their March 27 hearing for two months.

Walter Lynch, project manager for the proposed $160 million stadium, said the Redskins want to address the shortcomings in their plan pointed out by Administrative Hearing Officer Robert C. Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox rejected the Redskins' application for a zoning special exception to build the 78,600-seat stadium, citing inadequate roads to handle game-day traffic and insufficient parking.

"We're doing traffic studies to determine which land is the best to buy and which roads need improving," Mr. Lynch said.

The move to acquire more land appears to run counter to recent rumors that Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke is negotiating with Prince George's County or D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. for an alternate stadium site.

Redskins studies indicated that they could count on 3.5 passengers per car coming to the games. Their design provided for 20,077 parking spaces, even though county codes would require 39,000 spaces for a stadium that size. Mr. Wilcox acknowledged that the county requirement was too stringent for this project.

But Mr. Wilcox said the Redskins car occupancy projections were too optimistic, with a figure of three passengers per car being more realistic. Using that figure, the Redskins would have to provide at least 23,000 parking spaces.

The extension is the second requested by the Redskins. After Mr. Wilcox's opinion was issued Oct. 12, the Redskins immediately filed an appeal. But the next month, they asked for an extension until April in order to complete more studies. The Board of Appeals granted them the March 27 hearing.

Citizens Against the Stadium II, opponents of the stadium, said they will file an objection to the the extension.

"If Mr. Cooke wants more time, he should be sent back to square one. Then he could have all the time he needs," said Jeanne Mignon, CATS II president. "Anne Arundel taxpayers should be outraged that Mr. Cooke and his representatives have so little regard for the rules and regulations that the rest of us have to abide."

Thomas Dernoga, CATS II lawyer, said he thinks the second request for an extension means the Redskins' plans are in trouble.

"It tells me their case is still in disarray. Two extensions?" Mr. Dernoga said. "I personally think they're buying time while they're looking for a different site."

Anthony V. Lamartina, chairman of the seven-member Board of Appeals, said extension requests are routine. "It's nothing unusual. People make postponements on numerous occasions," he said. "If a good cause is shown, we won't count how many postponements have been made."

It is unclear whether the Redskins will legally be able to alter their original plan to include the new land for parking.

Last September, Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Martin J. Wolff overturned the approval of a Silver Spring developer's plans because the proposal submitted to the Board of Appeals was substantially changed from the one heard by the administrative hearing officer.

Mr. Lamartina said the Board of Appeals will likely announce whether it will grant postponement at its hearing session Tuesday evening at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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