A developer's plan to build a $23 million school in Anne Arundel County in exchange for approval of a large-scale residential project got the green light from the Anne Arundel County Council last night.
In the first step of the approval process, the council unanimously approved zoning for the Laurel project at its Monday night meeting.
Councilman Jamie Benoit, who represents the Laurel area, said he reviewed the lease agreement between Severna Park-based Polm Cos. and Imagine Global Village Academy, and after making some amendments, was "satisfied" with it.
Andrew Zois, president of Polm, said last night it was a "great victory."
Benoit, who has closely scrutinized the project, he said, to make sure the developer keeps to his word about building the school, said after the meeting, "He's got other hurdles."
In order for the project and the school to move forward, county officials must grant other approvals, including the proper water and sewer capacity.
Approval for the project appeared at a standstill last month, with Zois refusing to show Benoit the lease, citing legal justifications.
Polm's plan for a $300 million development of 1,000 homes includes 320 homes guaranteed to be priced for moderate incomes and transportation improvements, including the replacement of a deteriorating bridge.
The project has garnered a swell of community support, largely because of the promise of the school, in an area where school overcrowding is an issue.