Investors want OK to build arena Zoning is sought for $7 million complex at park

December 13, 1996|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN STAFF

A group of investors has asked a county zoning official for permission to build a $7 million indoor sports arena at a county-owned park in Pasadena.

The Lake Shore Arena Limited Partnership is planning an arena with an indoor soccer field and two ice skating rinks, one National Hockey League-size and the other Olympic-size, on 17 acres at Lake Shore Athletic Complex off Woods Road.

The firm will present the plan to Robert C. Wilcox, the county's administrative hearing officer, at 10: 30 a.m. Jan. 2 at Arundel Center in Annapolis.

The investors need a special exception to build a commercial facility in an area zoned for limited residential-recreational development.

The arena, which could be open as early as next fall, has been desperately needed for years, said James Renner, general partner of the Lake Shore Investment Group.

"We feel that the area deserves this," he said. "It's just a matter of finding the right location and getting the authorization we need."

Some residents want to know if traffic to the arena is going to make the already congested Mountain Road even worse.

"How much is it going to increase traffic by? That's my first question," said Carolyn Roeding, president of the Greater Pasadena Council. "It sounds like a good idea, but I'm always concerned about how the infrastructure will accommodate traffic."

Athletic complexes have become popular. The Arundel Olympic Swim Center in Annapolis attracts about 1,000 swimmers a day, while about 3,000 skaters travel weekly to Piney Orchard Ice Forum in Odenton.

Renner acknowledged that more motorists would use Mountain and Woods roads, but he also said most of the cars would travel during nonpeak rush hours.

"Most of our business is on weekends and after 6: 30 p.m. on weekdays," he said.

The project has received a warm welcome from parents and athletic organizations in the area.

"I'm delighted," said Marie Hartman, whose 11-year-old son is an avid lacrosse player. "I don't doubt that they'll have lines over there."

Said Rick Hare, president of Lake Shore Recreation Council: "It'll be a nice facility for youth sports groups, and we'd like to see it happen."

Hare said about 800 children play soccer for his organization and about half play indoors. But to do that, they have to go to either the Meyer Soccer Pavilion in Brooklyn or the Du Burns Soccer Facility in East Baltimore, he said.

"They're so crowded," Hare said. "You need a lottery system just to get in there."

Renner said the proposed facility would solve that problem. And if another field was needed, the hockey rink could be converted into a soccer field, he said.

Renner said he did not want a repeat of what happened last year when Anne Arundel County Recreation Council was forced to send a team to Norfolk, Va., to play in a tournament.

"That's ludicrous," he said. "We have plenty of flexibility, and if they wanted to throw a tournament, they could."

Renner said the rinks would also help accommodate the burgeoning popularity of ice hockey and figure skating. Arena officials are considering opening the facility to indoor lacrosse and in-line skating during the summer, he said.

Nancy Schrum said her 8-year-old daughter quit ice skating, but might resume if the proposed arena existed.

"Having an ice skating rink in Pasadena rather than driving to Piney Orchard is more convenient to us as parents," she said.

Pub Date: 12/13/96

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