The College Park City Council voted 6 to 1 last night to recommend that the Prince George's County government impose restrictions on a soon-to-open hot tub emporium in the city.
The spa, a branch of the Making Waves establishment in downtown Washington, was opposed by a group of 12 ministers led by the Rev. Barry E. Wood of College Park. Wood said the hot tubs would "promote lust and sexual immorality," particularly among students at the nearby University of Maryland.
The owners, who include a Washington art gallery owner, an accountant, and a lawyer, argued that the tubs are used chiefly for relaxation and that most students couldn't afford the prices. The tubs at the Washington spa rent for $9 per person per hour. Moreover, the owners said, many motels are available near their Rte. 1 location.
In a letter to the County Council, the College Park council asked for a law requiring yearly health department inspections of hot tub establishments and yearly licensing review, which would require a public hearing each year.
Earlier, College Park Mayor Alvin Kushner had warned the group of ministers that the City Council could do little on its own to stop the spa. About 60 people attended last night's 2 1/2 hour meeting, with speakers testifying on both sides of the issue. Wood spoke against the proposed spa. But Martha Carlson, a College Park civic association president, spoke in favor of the spa, admonishing the council for what she said was unfairly "putting the owners on trial."