Anne Arundel officials say no to open doors at Market House

City still plans to go forward with renovations

February 03, 2011|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has rejected a proposal for renovations to the Annapolis Market House because the proposed open-air entrances in a facility serving food could cause potential health hazards, city officials announced Thursday.

David Jarrell, director of the city's Department of Public Works, said that open doors would require all food preparation areas to be fully enclosed, a configuration that would further hinder design plans. He briefed members of the City Council's Economic Matters Committee after meeting with Health Department officials Thursday.

As part of a $600,000 plan to renovate Market House in the pending lease agreement by the city and developer Lehr Jackson, city officials had planned to install glass bi-fold doors that would be opened during warm weather. Jackson has agreed to go forward with the lease without the new doors.

While the decision changes the city's design plan, it will save about $150,000, which may engender some good will toward the controversial lease. Council members are vowing to submit several amendments to the lease legislation after fielding dozens of complaints from constituents that the proposed lease places too much financial liability on the city.

Alderman Ross Arnett said he plans to put forth a resolution asking the city attorney to render a legal opinion on the lease during Monday night's meeting.

Phillip McGowan, a spokesman for Mayor Joshua J. Cohen, said the Health Department's decision was "not a surprise to us."

He added, "If the council proceeds with ratifying the lease and approving the budget transfer, it's full speed ahead for completing the renovation."

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