Elderly housing plan clears early hurdle

April 27, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission last night recommended granting a special exception to allow the town's first elderly housing project.

Michael B. Berman, president of Wildwood Park Inc., has proposed building 30 one- and two-bedroom houses for senior citizens on a 4-acre tract off Ridge Avenue near the Carroll County Public Library and Senior Center.

The special exception request now goes before the town's Board of Appeals. If it is approved by that board, the project will return to the planning commission for site plan approval.

Mr. Berman's project is the first to come before town officials since the Town Council amended the zoning ordinance to allow senior housing as a special exception in residential areas several months ago. The ordinance previously didn't address senior housing.

The commission gave its approval on the condition that the developer would address several concerns, including increased traffic in the area, the use of an adjacent existing building and how covenants within the development will be enforced.

Commission Chairman Frederick Goundry said a proposed community center in an existing adjacent building and a senior housing development were contrary.

He expressed concerns about traffic and youth activities at the community center disturbing senior citizens.

"The status of the plans has a great deal to do with elderly housing," he said.

Town planner Teresa Bamberger said that although a special exception has been granted to allow the community center, no plans have been presented to town officials.

The senior housing development would contain single-story attached and detached houses ranging in price from $60,000 to $70,000, Mr. Berman said. Some of the homes would have attached garages and all would be handicapped accessible, he said.

A homeowners' association would be responsible for maintenance and landscape work, Mr. Berman said.

"I think this site is ideally suited for senior housing," Ms. Bamberger said, noting the proximity to the senior center and library.

"It's a nice site, it's accessible and it has a lot of advantages for senior housing."

Also last night, the commission refused to recommend a special exception for an eight-unit elderly housing project on 1.2 acres off Plainview Avenue.

Planners said the site was not conducive to elderly living.

Although owner Robert Hilton said he was willing to revise his plans, the town's planners said the site was incompatible with what town officials envision for senior housing. They said the site is located on top of a hill and is not within walking distance of shopping centers or downtown.

"There are quite a few problems with this particular site," Mr. Goundry said.

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