Gym Makes Move Toward Former Office Depot In Reisterstown

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REISTERSTOWN, MD — A developer wants to put a health club into the Cherryvale shopping center on Reisterstown Road. Project officials had to get a variance due to what its attorney called an "unusual layout" at the plaza and Baltimore County's zoning code.

Zoning typically classifies fitness clubs in Baltimore County as community buildings, and Turnpike Associates, which owns Cherryvale Plaza, asked an administrative law judge to allow this use at the former Office Depot site and to provide any related relief.

Typically, businesses like fitness centers in shopping plazas need to have 10 parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet, attorney Lawrence Schmidt said on behalf of Turnpike Associates, speaking before Administrative Law Judge Maureen Murphy, who heard the case Wednesday, June 8, via a virtual zoning hearing.

“This is one of the more unusual shopping centers that I’ve seen," Schmidt said. "It actually has a stream that goes through it."

Turnpike Associates asked to be relieved of some of the parking that would be required since the current parking at the shopping center is under-utilized, which the attorney substantiated with photos showing many empty parking spots.

"There's no parking off-site that people would spill over to," Schmidt said of the property at 11716 Reisterstown Road where his client wanted to put in a health club. "There's not any real adverse impact" to neighboring streets, he said.

"This isn't a real large space as fitness centers go," Schmidt said. It will include a mix of fitness rooms for aerobics, yoga and other classes; rooms for fitness equipment like free weights, Stairmasters, ellipticals and treadmills; as well as office space. The spot is not big enough to allow for a pool or saunas like some of the larger clubs, he said.

It is "sort of a generic fitness center, Planet Fitness concept," Schmidt said.

The 20,625-square-foot space would be occupied by Planet Fitness, according to the plans presented at the hearing.

Usually, people would stop by in the early morning hours and late in the day, from 4 to 7 p.m., Schmidt said. Those were off-peak hours for the grocery store, which sees foot traffic during the weekend and daytime, he said.

"I think the uses are compatible," Schmidt said. "We're not building anything else. It will be a renovation" to turn an Office Depot store into a fitness center.

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