County planners dropped opposition to selling the former Robert E. Peary High School in Aspen Hill to the private school that leases the facility in a surprise reversal Thursday that drew unanimous support from the Planning Board. The vote drew applause from more than two dozen advocates for the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy who attended the board's meeting in support of the academy's effort to buy the building it has leased for more than 14 years. The academy is credited with rehabilitating Peary, which was dilapidated and rundown. The school system closed the school in 1984 and the property sat vacant until Berman moved in.
The change that swayed planners to favor a recent proposal by County Executive Isiah Leggett to sell the 19.5-acre site to the Berman Academy for $1.9 million is a stipulation that proponents say would enable the county to get the building and grounds back more quickly if needed. Planners did not receive the revised proposal until early this week and did not finish reviewing it and giving their support until Wednesday evening, said Glenn Kreger, acting chief of community-based planning for the county. SOURCE: Gazette