County Council reviewing lease agreement for school proposed in Laurel

Developer offers to build school in exchange for zoning OK for new development

April 07, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County Council members have received a copy of the lease agreement between the Imagine Global Village Academy and the developer who is offering to build a school in exchange for zoning approval to build a 1,000-home development in Laurel, ending a potential standoff between the developer who balked at providing it and the council member representing the area.

The council started to review the Severna Park-based Polm Cos.' thick document last week. The proposed RiverWood project and K-8 school — a public school that would alleviate crowding and be privately operated — are included in the comprehensive zoning bill pending before the council.

Council member Jamie Benoit, who represents the district, said that if the council grants zoning approval for the $300 million project, it is morally obligating itself to ensure there's a school there if the Polm Cos. "disappear." Benoit may have substantial sway over the project's fate because other council members are likely to adhere to the courtesy practice of voting with Benoit.

The proposal calls for the contract school to be operated by Imagine Schools, which would lease the space from Polm. The county would pay Imagine to run it, and it would pull students from the area's two most crowded elementary schools, Brock Bridge and Maryland City.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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