HOT SHOTS: Two Alarm Blaze at Bay Area Christian Academy on Pindell Road in Lothian
Dunkirk photographer Rob Marshall of Marshall 3rd Photography shot these photos of Sunday morning’s two-alarm blaze at Arundel Bay Christian Academy on Pindell Road in Lothian. The K-8 school is a ministry of Riverdale Baptist Church of Upper Marlboro.
The site, on 57 acres near Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, was the source of a heated land and zoning dispute between Anne Arundel County and Riverdale Baptist. The church acquired the property to build the school, but in 2006 was thwarted by the Anne Arundel County Council, who designated the parcel “scenic and historic” — and unbuildable. The building plans were put on hold while the church and the county fought it out first at the County Council and later in court.
By 2008, the church had filed a federal lawsuit against the county, saying that zoning laws were infringing on the church and its religious rights. It took a couple of years for the case to wind its way through the courts.
In 2010, before the court case had come to conclusion, the church and Anne Arundel county attorneys reached a $3.25 million settlement, allowing the church to build the school.