After two-year delay, Habitat to start homebuilding project Concession to neighbors is made

nonprofit to pay $100,000 to improve land

December 02, 1997|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Nearly two years after striking a deal with the county for free land on Beverly Road in Severn, Arundel Habitat for Humanity is about to start building the first of three planned homes.

The project was hampered early by neighbors who wanted no development of the wooded lots the county had donated to the charity.

It then was delayed as Habitat officials and designers tried to TC

meet county requirements to prepare the land for building.

Habitat will spend almost $100,000 extending water and sewer lines, paving the road in front of the donated lots and building a runoff area. That is more than the nonprofit group usually spends to prepare land for construction, said Jeanne Martin, a former board member who works with families who have qualified for homes.

'One of those things'

"It isn't a situation that we would have liked to get into," Martin said. "We do appreciate what the county has done. It's just one of those things."

In a concession to neighbors, Habitat and the county agreed that three homes would be built and that one lot would be left undeveloped.

Sharon and Larry Taylor and their eight children, ages 3 to 11, have known since March 1996 that Habitat would build a home for them, but they have had to wait through the long process of preparing the land.

"The Lord's timing is always perfect," said Sharon Taylor, 48, a homemaker. "We're just trusting him to work it out."

In the meantime, the Taylors have built up 250 hours of "sweat equity" toward the 500-hour requirement demanded by Habitat by working on other families' homes and writing a brochure explaining Habitat to applicants. Their eldest son, Jeff, also contributed several hours by working on a Habitat computer Web site.

Five-bedroom home

Their five-bedroom home will replace the Severn townhouse they have rented for about nine years, where the two oldest boys share a bedroom in a windowless basement, the five girls share one room and one son sleeps in a room that by day is a study room.

In the new house, the three boys will sleep in one bedroom; the girls will share two rooms; and Larry Taylor, 47, who runs his own cleaning business, will have an office and a shed for equipment.

The Taylors had been unable to find a larger house that they could afford to rent or a landlord willing to rent to a family with eight children, Sharon Taylor said. And buying a large-enough home was simply out of the question, she said.

The Habitat program with its relatively low-cost mortgage in return for the Taylors' 500 hours of work was just what they needed.

St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Harundale Presbyterian Church, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, Westinghouse Co. and an individual donor have contributed more than $30,000 for the Taylor home, according to Martin. Volunteers, including the Taylors and members of their church, Faith Bible Church in Elkridge, will build the home.

Mortgage details to come

The terms of the Taylors' mortgage have not been set, but families who buy Habitat homes generally pay $400 to $500 a month in mortgage, insurance and property tax payments, according to Martin.

Martin's family bought the county's first Habitat home in 1989.

The program accepts families who live in substandard housing; earn $13,000 to $26,000 a year, depending on the size of the family; and who live, work or worship in Anne Arundel County.

Habitat will hold a groundbreaking Dec. 13. After a break for the holidays, construction will begin in January.

A family has been chosen for another lot on Beverly Road, but Habitat is looking for donors to contribute about $36,000 for building materials, according to Linda Gray, a Habitat board member.

Pub Date: 12/02/97

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