Constellation begins clearing center site County says company does not have permit to proceed with work

December 05, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A Howard County-based subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has begun clearing a 2-acre lot in Severna Park for a proposed 67-unit assisted-living center.

But Anne Arundel County zoning officials are puzzled, because they say that they have not issued a grading permit to Constellation Health Services of Columbia.

"They got some approvals [in May] and made some revisions," said John A. Morris, a spokesman for the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement.

"But we're still looking at the revisions and waiting to comment on them for the grading permit," he said.

Motorists who drive by the site on Benfield Road near Holly Farms Road can see bulldozers and dump trucks clearing trees and hauling away sand for a proposed three-story center.

The Heartlands at Severna Park, which is expected to open next fall, will have 67 units and employ 45 workers.

Residents, who will pay about $3,000 a month to live at the center, will eat in a large dining room, get medical treatment at an in-house doctor's office, and go to an on-premises shop to get their hair done.

County officials had suggested building an entrance and exit on Holly Farms Road, but at least one neighbor opposed that idea, Morris said.

"He didn't want [the road] upgraded," Morris said. "He preferred to have a small, unimproved road."

The project is attracting mixed reviews from neighbors, all of whom declined to be identified.

Some residents have argued that a housing facility for the elderly is a much better alternative than a new subdivision or a strip mall, both of which would exacerbate congestion on Benfield.

But other neighbors fear that the project will encourage further development and jeopardize the privacy that they have enjoyed for decades.

Officials from Constellation did not return repeated telephone calls for this article.

Rick Zablocki, president of the Greater Severna Park Council, said he was in favor of the center because it would cause the least amount of pressure on the surrounding infrastructure.

"It doesn't impact schools, and it doesn't add lots of traffic," Zablocki said. "It's not a bad place for it."

The facility is one of a few proposed or being built in Severna Park.

Construction of a three-story, 137-suite housing center for the elderly being built by Sunrise Assisted Living Inc. on West McKinsey Road is about 50 percent complete.

And the county Board of Appeals is reviewing a petition opposing a center that Colonial Manor Homes planned to build in the 100 block of Arundel Beach Road.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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