Developer ponders change in site for senior housing

September 16, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The Columbia developer of a controversial proposal for a senior housing development in downtown Ellicott City is considering a different site in the historic district.

D. A. McDaniels Inc., in conjunction with the county's housing commission, will pursue the new site -- near the Roger Carter Neighborhood Park and Center on Fels Lane -- if the Howard County Council passes a resolution that will allow the agency to acquire the property without receiving permission from all the owners.

Mary C. Heine, who owned the property, died early this century and "has quite a few heirs," who have control of it, said Leonard S. Vaughan, executive director of the county Office of Housing and Community Development.

The County Council is to take up the matter at a meeting tonight.

The new proposed site for the Tiber-Hudson Senior Housing Project -- a 12-unit apartment building for elderly people with incomes of $18,000 to $24,000 a year -- also is near the Ellicott City fire station, which likely will become a senior center, Vaughan said.

The fire department is relocating the station to Route 103 next summer.

"The new site offers some advantages that will make construction a little easier," he said.

The original site on Hamilton Street, near Old Columbia Pike, required the developer to build the apartment building over a stream, he said.

The change in sites will likely quiet opposition to the project.

Merchants and residents of the historic district opposed the original site because they said housing for the elderly would conflict with the commercial character of the area.

In July, prospective restaurant owner Peter Ruff asked Howard County Circuit Court to review a Board of Appeals decision granting the developer permission to build the senior housing at the original site.

"We applaud a new location," Ruff said. "It's good for Ellicott City. The new site is probably an ideal place for senior housing. It's much more tranquil."

He said he will not drop the lawsuit until plans for the Fels Lane location are final.

If the apartment building isn't occupied by the end of 1997, Vaughan said, federal funds for the project will expire.

Pub Date: 9/16/96

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