ELDERSBURG — A Howard County developer has proposed a 75-unit retirement home apartment complex in South Carroll.
Richard C. Colandrea of Columbia has requested a waiver, or conditional use approval, from the County Board of Zoning Appeals to build Liberty Meadow on 6.8 acres on the south side of Liberty Road, between Route 32 and Bonnie Brae Road.
Colandrea has a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Room 07 of the County Office Building in Westminster.
The land now is zoned for half-acre residential lots, but retirement apartments could be allowed as an exception. Colandrea needs the approval before he can continue with the planning process.
The proposal includes three two-story apartment buildings, with 25 units in each building.
The Carroll Bureau of Housing and Community Development has been working with Colandrea to secure a state low-interest housing loan so rents could be kept affordable for elderly on fixed income, said J. Curtis Turner, community development administrator.
Turner said the proposal is "a great project if it could fly, but it faces a lot of obstacles." If approved and constructed, it would be among the three largest retirementapartment complexes in the county, he said.
Some of the obstaclesinclude the sewer hookup moratorium the county has imposed in the Freedom District, bureaucratic delays and complications in arranging public and private financing.
Turner said he is confident the project would be an attractive one.
"He's pretty much an upscale developer," said Turner, adding that Colandrea is working with builders who have done work on Baltimore's Inner Harbor. "These aren't ma-and-pop guys."
A committee charged with studying housing issues for the county recently determined that Carroll has an insufficient stock of housing for the elderly.
"He wants to make it affordable to the elderly," said Turner. "He's very understanding of the ability of elderlyto pay."
Colandrea has proposed several different projects for the parcel since 1979. In 1979, he received county permission to convert a single-family dwelling into a real estate office and an antique shop. Subsequent attempts to establish a fitness center with a joggingpath and professional offices were rejected by the zoning board.
In 1987, the board approved a conditional use for a similar retirement apartment complex plan, but two years later revoked the authority because Colandrea did not continue with development plans. Colandrea said he delayed the project because the county was considering rezoning the tract.