Housing for seniors proposed Zoning exception sought by builder for Mount Airy site SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

March 26, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a request for senior citizen housing Monday -- the first since the zoning ordinance was amended to allow such housing.

Michael B. Berman, president of Wildwood Park Inc., has proposed building 30 one- and two-bedroom houses for senior citizens on a four-acre tract on Ridge Avenue near the Carroll County senior center and the public library.

The project would require the granting of a special exception by the town's Board of Appeals. The request first goes before the planning commission for a recommendation.

Under the town's recently amended zoning ordinance, senior housing is allowed as a special exception in residential areas. The ordinance previously didn't address senior housing.

"We feel there is a need for affordable housing in Mount Airy, and we want to offer a product. It's a niche in the market that currently is not being provided," Mr. Berman said.

The development would contain single-story attached and detached houses in the $70,000 to $90,000 price range, he said.

A homeowners association would handle maintenance and landscape work. He wants to provide "maintenance-free, independent living" for senior citizens within town limits.

In developing his plans, Mr. Berman has been working with a town senior citizens committee.

"We've worked closely with the committee, and we're aiming to provide a product that is affordable and meets the desires [of the community]," he said.

In order to build senior housing, Mr. Berman must follow several stipulations outlined in the zoning ordinance. Those include a requirement that the housing be occupied by the owner or a direct blood relative. Town officials sought to avoid rental units // with that stipulation.

"There's a whole list the town requires for the special exception," Mr. Berman said. "We're trying to follow and conform to the special exception."

Mr. Berman's request is one of two requests for special exceptions that will be before the planning commission. The other is for a special exception from Bill and Trudy Hauptman to operate a day care center and preschool in a building adjacent to the senior center and library.

The Hauptmans, who operate the Mount Airy Day Care Center at their home, want to expand their business to include a preschool, summer program and prearranged drop-in service. They want to lease an existing building on Ridge Avenue from Mr. Berman.

Day care centers are allowed as special exceptions in residential zones, town officials said.

"The community is growing so fast -- there is a great demand for day care," Mrs. Hauptman said. "There's only a few small day care centers and preschools around here. Mount Airy needs a larger center to offer more to the community."

Mrs. Hauptman said the proposed center would serve 87 children, ages 2 to 12. The drop-in program would allow parents to drop off children for short periods if space were available and parents had provided the center with emergency and medical information, Mrs. Hauptman said.

If the planning commission recommends that the special exception be granted and the Board of Appeals agrees, Mrs. Hauptman said the center could be open by fall.

The Planning Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Town Hall, 2 Park Ave.

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