No public hearing needed for assisted living facility New county law requiring hearings does not apply

October 16, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie partnership can build a 98-bed assisted living facility and office park in Pasadena without a public hearing, despite legislation passed last month requiring such hearings.

Mountain View Limited Partnership is planning the facility on 7.4 acres at Mountain Road and Route 100 that is zoned for commercial development. The legislation, sponsored by Councilman William C. Mulford II, applies only to assisted living facilities and nursing homes of 16 beds or more on residential property.

The developers cleared their first hurdle yesterday when Robert C. Wilcox, the county's administrative hearing officer, granted a special exception for a sanitary sewer pumping station on the property.

But neighbors expressed anger that the project could go ahead without a public hearing.

"What the law misses is that commercial properties are right next to residential areas," said Frank Halgas, president of the Greater Pasadena Council. "This is a good example of that, and this is why the law should be changed."

Others worried about the traffic the facility and office park would generate in an already congested corridor.

"It's bad," Evelyn Schneider said of the center, which is three miles from her home on Somerset Road. "I'm against it not for what it is, but because it's in this area."

Mulford's bill was aimed at a nursing home planned in Heritage Harbour, a residential community west of Annapolis.

Assisted living facilities are "commercial uses," he said yesterday.

"The bill that I introduced dealt with what should be done when communities have facilities such as this come into their residential areas."

The pumping station Wilcox approved would carry waste from "Countryside Manor," a three-story building just east of Lake Shore Plaza. The project includes a 12,000-square-foot senior center and a 10,000-square-foot office complex for physicians, said Jay Breitenbach, a partner in the corporation.

The partnership has applied for a grading permit and expects to submit a plan to the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement for a building permit within 60 days, Breitenbach said.

"We think that we have a viable project," he said. "We think it's one of the least objectionable uses for that site, and once the communities see how nice and positive our facility will be, we feel the community will support the project."

Don't hold your breath, neighbors say. They argue that the facility would generate more traffic than Mountain Road, a heavily traveled artery, can handle.

"We live in the peninsula and we have trouble getting in and out of roads as it is," Schneider said. "And we'll have that much more when the offices are put in."

But Breitenbach said many of the center's residents will not be able to drive and that the facility's 30 employees will be traveling to work on a rotating basis.

Pub Date: 10/16/96

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