- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2000

The Washington Redskins have gained approval to move their summer training camp to Redskin Park in Ashburn, Va.

Zoning administrator Melinda Artman approved the permit after nearly two months of talks with Redskins officials, and the team will confirm the move from Frostburg, Md., at a news conference today.

Loudoun County officials said yesterday that a temporary permit for camp was issued for July 20 to Aug. 17 based on traffic and crowd restrictions.

The long-expected move was first reported by The Washington Times on July 27. The team considered local colleges, including Navy and George Mason, before opting to stay at the year-round facility.

The permit is for only one year, but the team can reapply in 2001. However, team sources said the Redskins may move to Landover, Md., within the next two years as part of the new Capital Centre complex. The new Redskin Park is slated for only five acres but could also use the indoor arena that will host owner Dan Snyder's pending Arena Football League team.

The permit allows the Redskins to sell no more than 7,500 tickets and park 2,000 vehicles during weekday practices at Redskin Park and 15,000 tickets and 3,000 vehicles on weekends. The deal encourages the Redskins to sell tickets beforehand. Team sources confirmed the sale of tickets.

Avoiding traffic gridlock in an already busy corridor near Dulles International Airport was paramount to local administrators. Practices can't start before 9:30 a.m. or end before 5:45 p.m. to reduce impact on rush hour traffic. Also, vehicles exiting Redskin Park will detour through Ashburn Village onto the toll road instead of Route 28. The Redskins also must place "road binding material" on Smith Switch Road off Loudoun County Parkway.

Perhaps the agreement's only downside is the inflexibility of practices because of possible bad weather. Coach Norv Turner previously altered afternoon workouts when rain was expected. However, ticket sales would make unexpected moves less tolerable for fans. Turner could not be reached for comment.

The Redskins recently began working on building general seating, corporate tents and concession stands on the hill overlooking the lower two practice fields. Fans will park on nearby grassy areas owned by the team.

The team will work out 22 of the 28 days with breaks for a July 29 scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field and preseason games against Tampa Bay on Aug. 5 and New England on Aug. 11.

The Redskins end training at Frostburg State midway through their 10-year deal. Frostburg officials expect the team to fulfill the final $1 million owed.

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