Residents get look at proposed Manchester retirement community

November 10, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

A retirement community may be coming to Manchester, if a Carroll County orthodontist has his way.

The proposed Manchester Manor development is planned for 7.7 acres owned by Dr. Robert T. Scott on Bachman Road, two blocks west of Route 30. The project was the subject of an open house Monday and yesterday at the North Carroll branch of the Carroll County Public Library.

The open house was billed as a "design expedition," a chance for neighbors and other interested persons to offer comments and suggestions at an early stage in the project's planning process.

"We don't have any fixed ideas on what we're going to do," said Chris Batten, a Westminster landscape architect who is the design consultant for the project. "We're not here to sell them on any plan we've already come up with."

He said about 120 invitations to the design expedition were sent to town and county officials, neighbors, local business owners and professionals, churches, and the news media.

A "hypothetical" design was on display. It showed 41 housing units, including detached homes, townhouses, duplexes, quadplexes and clubhouse suites. The units ranged in size from 800 to 1,536 square feet. There also is a clubhouse with meeting and exercise rooms and vending machines.

The housing units would be owned by the residents, who would pay condominium fees for maintenance.

In the first hour of the open house, several residents and county officials showed up to peruse the preliminary plans and offer their comments and concerns.

Mr. Batten said a frequent comment from the visitors was that there is a need for affordable housing for seniors in the Manchester area.

Manchester resident Barbara Yelton, who runs the Mason-Dixon Ambulance service, visited the open house. She said the developer would have to keep prices down. But she said senior housing in the Manchester area would be ideal for her mother, who lives in Florida and would like to return to Maryland.

Manchester Manor likely will be as upscale as the market will bear, Mr. Batten said.

However, he said, "I doubt whether, in Manchester, you could do a country club-type affair."

Dr. Scott said it would be impractical to include both expensive and affordable housing in Manchester Manor, because the site is too small to offer a variety of housing types.

However, he said, the project may well include fancier units, perhaps with hot tubs or garages, as well as some units with fewer options.

He said the nearby Long View Nursing Home may work with Manchester Manor in the future to provide "assisted living" options for seniors.

"Assisted living" is a semi-independent living arrangement for seniors who need help with some daily activities in order to remain in their own homes, but who do not need the sort of skilled care provided by nursing homes.

Martha Tarutis, the owner of Long View Nursing Home, said Monday that her facility may expand in the future onto an adjacent lot it owns, to provide space for assisted-living units.

Another possibility, she said, would be for Long View to offer in-home assisted living services to seniors living in Manchester Manor, to enable them to remain in their homes as long as possible.

"This is just all in the talking stage," she said. "We didn't make any hard-and-fast plans."

We would support anything that would help create assisted-living options for county seniors, said Janet B. Flora, chief of the Carroll County Bureau on Aging.

But she said her office would act more as an information resource for the developer than as a player in the process because Manchester Manor is a private development.

The 7.7-acre site includes two lots. The larger one contains more than five acres and is within the town limits of Manchester, said Miriam DePalmer, the town's assistant zoning administrator.

The smaller lot would have to be annexed into the town if the project is to move ahead in one piece, she said, and the annexation process would take at least six months.

The larger lot is zoned for residential use. A retirement community is a conditional use under this designation and would need approval from the town Board of Zoning Appeals, Ms. DePalmer said.

If single-family homes were to be built on the property instead of a retirement community, Mr. Batten said, its zoning would allow construction of only 12 to 18 houses.

Mr. Batten said the next step will be to incorporate the comments gleaned from the open house. The first plans for the development will not be presented to the Manchester Planning and Zoning Commission until early 1994, he said.

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