Board OKs plans for apartment complex

Eldersburg project gets initial go-ahead in 1987

July 21, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

After a lengthy public hearing, the county Planning and Zoning Commission approved site plans yesterday for construction of an apartment complex for the elderly on the south side of Liberty Road in Eldersburg.

Plans for the 75 rental units have been on the drawing board for more than a decade.

The county Board of Zoning Appeals initially gave the project the go-ahead in 1987. The developer made revisions to the original plans and in 1991 received the board's blessing for a second time -- a step that was required because the site is zoned for residential use, with homes on half-acre lots. Construction was delayed as the developer sought financing.

"We've had difficulty securing financing for the project because we were unable to come up with an off-site storm-water management plan," property owner and developer Richard Colandrea told the commission. "We finally have that issue resolved."

Colandrea said the developer of a neighboring subdivision has agreed to let him expand and use an existing storm-water management pond. The Columbia businessman is hoping to secure tax credits to transform the wooded 6.76-acre parcel near the Freedom Village Shopping Center into a retirement complex.

Colandrea could not say yesterday how much the project is going to cost. His vision is to construct three two-story buildings on the site, each with 25 apartments. He hopes to break ground in May and welcome the first residents late next summer.

During the hourlong hearing, members of the planning commission expressed concerns about traffic congestion along Liberty Road (Route 26) and the high density of the project.

"As it is zoned, this site is only supposed to have about 10 homes. This project has seven times as many units. Putting 75 units down there will certainly have an impact on the traffic environment," said commission member Grant S. Dannelly.

Dannelly, an Eldersburg resident, suggested that land be reserved for a planned service road that would run parallel to Liberty Road and connect the retirement complex to nearby shops.

The planning panel made Dannelly's suggestion a condition for approval. The commission also required Colandrea to get written approval from George Beisser, Carroll's zoning administrator, for the project. Because of the lengthy delay in construction, Beisser must sanction the decision rendered by the Board of Zoning Appeals in 1991.

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