Council OKs zoning shift to allow wellness centers 2nd vote speeds county debris-recycling efforts


The County Council voted last night to approve two unrelated zoning changes, one to allow a new kind of health center in Anne Arundel and another to allow recycling of construction and demolition debris in industrial areas.

The council voted 6-0 to approve zoning for "health and wellness centers," which offer physical rehabilitation and generally cater to an older clientele than health clubs do. Councilman George Bachman, a Linthicum Heights Democrat, was absent.

Centers would be allowed in areas zoned for office parks and retail, in highway commercial districts, and in industrial parks and light-industrial areas.

Wellbridge Co., which built Sinai Wellbridge Health and Fitness in Baltimore County, had been considering building a center in Millersville, near Interstate 97. But the legislation could apply to several areas in the county, including Annapolis, said Bert L. Rice, an Odenton Republican who is the bill's sponsor and council chairman.

"It's a very unique facility," Rice said of the Sinai Wellbridge center, which he visited. "It's not like walking into a gym," he said, noting that staff professionals closely monitor clients working out on the machinery.

In the other zoning change, the council voted 6-0 to allow the processing of construction and demolition debris, and solid-waste transfer stations in light-industrial areas, and as special exceptions in heavy-industrial areas.

Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr., who sponsored the bill, said he would eventually want all loads headed for rubble fills and landfills in the county to be processed for recycling. He said his bill opens the door for private companies to start recycling the wood, metal and other materials in construction debris.

In other action, the council voted 6-0 to endorse a bank's $3 million loan to Severn School, a private, nonprofit academy in Severna Park for children in grades six through 12.

With the council's approval, the school will be able to get the low-interest, tax-exempt loan from Annapolis National Bank to help pay for construction of a $5 million building on the campus. The 28,868-square-foot building will house a theater, dining hall, laboratories and art classrooms, and is scheduled for completion in January, said Headmaster William J. Creeden.

The project might hit a snag in a dispute with residents over who owns Holly Avenue, a road and path that borders the school property and leads to a community beach on the river. School officials believe they own half of the right of way. Community leaders say the entire right of way belongs to the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association.

The residents and the school will probably end up in court to settle the dispute, said Creeden and association member Earle S. Dashiell Jr., who spoke at last night's council session. Both say the dispute is not a feud and that the community and school hope to remain on good terms.

Pub Date: 5/05/98

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