10-acre site eyed for senior housing complex

May 05, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

County approval could make it possible for Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church to build a retirement community on 10 acres in Severna Park.

Woodwise, a nonprofit corporation founded by the church, submitted its plan during an April 14 meeting with Office of Human Services officials.

"We are reviewing the plan, and the county executive will review the total project," said Pat Barland, programs administrator for the county Office of Human Services.

Ardath Cade, a county Human Services officer, said she expects her office will decide this summer. The Woodwise plan calls for about 80 units, Ms. Cade said. The land, which the county owns, is located on Cypress Creek Road and is zoned for high-density residential housing. The county bought the land several years ago, originally planning to use it for a park or leave it as undeveloped open space, she said. "There is a substantial need for this type housing in the county," said Ms. Cade. "[Senior citizens are] one of the fastest-growing populations."

Al Johnston, secretary of the Woodwise board of directors, said the plan calls for two buildings, one providing independent living for seniors, the other offering assisted living for seniors who need medical or other kinds of help. The board still has to decide whether one of the buildings should be given preference or both should be built at the same time, he said.

Mr. Johnston said the board would get more specific after the county makes its decision. Church officials have said the units would be open to everyone. "We have a dialogue with the county, and we gave them our ideas," he said. "Now we are waiting to hear from them."

If the county approves the plan, the land probably would have to be sold to Woodwise. That sale would have to be approved by the County Council, Ms. Cade said.

Woodwise, together with the Sunrise Development Corp. in Fairfax, Va., has been working on plans for a retirement complex for about five years, but high interest rates in the 1980s stalled the project, said Mr. Johnston. Recent, lower interest rates have improved the financial climate.

"This project has always been alive," Mr. Johnston said. "But it was a problem getting the money for it. Sunrise has agreed to help us finance it, and I hope it won't be too long before we can get started."

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