Lighthouse Point project gets go-ahead despite objections

Officials rule building safe, original approval stands

April 10, 2000|By Kurt Streeter | Kurt Streeter,SUN STAFF

Over residents' objections, the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development has given final approval for the nearly completed Lighthouse Point condominium project, after reviewing testimony from a public meeting in January.

The three-level condominium project -- 80 units built above a 50-foot boat storage facility at the 2700 block of Boston St. -- was given the go-ahead by the city in March 1999, prompting developer Selvin Passen to begin construction.

But the city's approval, which hinged on a zoning change that allowed the complex to be zoned for residential use, failed to deter a group of Canton residents. Prodded by Milton Bates, Robert C. Keith and Edward Wovas, the city reviewed the decision, made by former housing chief Daniel P. Henson III, before a five-member panel of housing officials in January.

The residents argued that a storage area with capacity for 200 boats -- plus fuel, flares and service equipment -- posed a fire danger and that condominiums should not be built above it.

Housing Commissioner Patricia J. Payne put her stamp of approval on the project in a letter sent to Keith last month, saying approval of project would stand. Payne said Passen had met city and fire department safety concerns and that the residential zoning classification should be allowed.

Though the city was forced to review the original approval, construction of the project has continued, with Passen spending more than $5 million so far. Lighthouse Point is scheduled to open in July.

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