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Patriots Stadium Faces Obstacles

August 6, 1999

BOSTON (AP) _ The Foxboro Board of Health voted to allow residents of a trailer park to stay put on land where the New England Patriots want to build a new stadium, but the town’s lawyer said the board doesn’t have the authority to make that call.

And he said it wouldn’t slow plans for the new $280 million stadium.

``I think it’s invalid. I think it’s beyond the scope of their authority,″ Town Counsel Richard Gelerman said Friday. ``This was just a distractive blip and not at all an issue anyone should be focusing on.″

Gelerman said a meeting was held last week to address traffic concerns and residents would be asked at a town meeting this fall to approve various aspects of the stadium plan.

But Robert Kraus, lawyer for the mobile home residents, said boards of health have broad licensing authority over mobile home communities.

``Every year, every manufactured housing operation must be relicensed by the board of health, not just to make sure the water runs ... but to make sure they are following the law,″ Kraus said.

Kraus said the residents are not looking to hold up construction of a new stadium and are anxious to resolve their situation.

``There are discussions going on between the respective parties and we’re looking to resolve it,″ he said. ``This is not about extortion, this is about protecting the lives of the people who live in this park.″

State legislation authorizing $70 million in taxpayer money for stadium infrastructure gave team owner Robert Kraft options for dealing with the mobile home community.

It allowed him to buy out the homeowners, find them room elsewhere on his property or relocate them to another park within 100 miles.

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