Housing project for elderly proposed

November 25, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Officials of a Baltimore-based property management company plan to seek a zoning change that would clear the way for a $6 million, 100-unit apartment complex for the elderly on 4.5 acres in Elkridge.

Shelter Development Corp., which developed Owen Brown Place in Columbia, would like to build the complex at U.S. 1 and Old Baltimore-Washington Boulevard.

But before construction can begin, officials must get the zoning changed from residential to planned, office/research, and that change requires a specific site plan, said Andy Aulde, vice president of Shelter Development.

If Elkridge residents like the proposal for the housing complex, Mr. Aulde said, he will return to them with the site plan he intends to bring before the zoning board. Construction could begin by late 1994 or early 1995, he said.

"We're trying to develop something that's affordable in Elkridge and is needed in Elkridge," Mr. Aulde said.

He discussed the plan with about 30 residents at the Elkridge Community Association this month, using sketches of a 104-unit complex under construction near Owen Brown Village Center to illustrate what the proposed development would look like.

The Owen Brown complex has four stories in one section and three stories in another.

Mr. Aulde said the Elkridge project would be similar, with one-bedroom apartments renting for about $400, including utilities. The 600- to 700-square-foot apartments would contain fully equipped kitchens and emergency pull cords for tenants who injure themselves.

Community rooms also would be available for doctors and for neighborhood services such as Meals on Wheels, Mr. Aulde said.

Tenants would have to be at least 62 years old and able to care for themselves.

In addition to building the complex, Shelter Development would form a nonprofit partnership with a coalition of local churches. The churches would provide community services for the tenants, such as transportation.

Initial reaction at the community association meeting ranged from opposition to the building's height to concern about stiff competition from other housing for the elderly in the county.

For example, Harmony Hall in Columbia and the Heartlands in Ellicott City both offer some meals and housekeeping services.

Mr. Aulde said Shelter Development's proposed apartment house would do plenty of business because it is designed for fully independent tenants with low to moderate incomes.

Heartlands and Harmony Hall "are what's called 'congregate care,' " Mr. Aulde said, noting that they include meals, organized activities, housekeeping and transportation.

"This is really independent living, where church, county, and state programs will provide community services," he said of Shelter Development's proposal.

Leah Frazier, an Elkridge senior citizen, said nothing would induce her to live in a four-story building.

"I personally would not go in a four-story-tall building," Ms. Frazier said. "I would sleep in a tent in somebody's yard before you put me in a high-rise."

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