Carroll County's proposed transitional housing project can't use the five Littlestown Pike houses that must be moved for the expansion of the county airport, Jolene Sullivan, director of the county Department of Citizens Services, told the commissioners yesterday.
"The state says the cost effectiveness in the long term is excessive," Ms. Sullivan said, of the plan to move four of the houses to a 5-acre site off Krider's Church Road and renovate them.
State money was to be used to pay for the project, which would have provided homes for families leaving a conventional homeless shelter but unable to afford an apartment, she said. Plans called for demolishing one of the houses.
"We need to get something going," Ms. Sullivan said, noting that James Ryan Jr. wants to see county officials start on the project. Mr. Ryan, president of Rylea Homes in Westminster, donated the 5 acres to the county in summer 1992.
"At the very least, this [the property] could have made some money for Mr. Ryan," she said. "We need to make an effort for him."
In addition, state officials are eager that the project be completed, Ms. Sullivan said.
Jacqueline H. Rogers, state secretary of housing and community development, inquired about the project's status and expressed support for it at the Maryland Association of Counties meeting in Ocean City last month, Ms. Sullivan said.
County officials are now planning to return to the original plan, designed by Chris Batten of Westminster, to construct seven buildings containing 15 apartments, Ms. Sullivan said.
An on-site manager would live in one of the apartments, which will still be built in a clustered "hamlet" style, she said. Ms. Sullivan said nearby residents no longer have any objections to the project, which may cost about $800,000.
The project will be paid for with a combination of grants, she said.
"This is a real substantial savings [compared with renovating the houses]," Ms. Sullivan said. "The state feels more comfortable funding it this way."
County officials said yesterday that they would still like to find some way to save the houses, most of which are brick bungalows and ranchers.
But because the Federal Aviation Administration paid for 95 percent of the buildings, the county may be required to demolish all of them, said J. Michael Evans, county director of general services.
"The FAA is rule bound on this unless they get directions from higher up," he said, noting that the county could keep the buildings if it reimbursed the federal government.
Robert A. "Max" Bair, administrative assistant to the commissioners, said the county cannot afford to buy the houses now. But Mr. Evans suggested that the commissioners work with Maryland's congressional delegation to see if the demolition requirement might be waived.
"There is an opportunity to do some stuff with the folks in Washington," he said.