Apartment house conversion nears council approval

November 23, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval last night to a proposal to convert a Charles Street apartment building into a senior citizens' home, displacing its 150 occupants.

Under the proposal, which will be up for final approval next week, the Northway Apartments at 3700 N. Charles St. would become a home for the elderly that would offer assisted living.

Tenants are protesting the change, saying it will push middle-income residents out of the city and that nursing homes in the area are not fully occupied.

An amendment added to the legislation extended the deadline for moving tenants out to June to give the John Hopkins University students living there a chance to complete their school year.

In other action, the council:

Gave preliminary approval to legislation granting a cable franchise in the Inner Harbor to Flight Systems Cablevision. TCI Communications of Baltimore, the city's largest cable provider, objected to the franchise agreement, complaining that TCI was not permitted to compete.

The agreement would bring Internet and other data services through expanded cable lines to the Inner Harbor area, particularly marinas. City officials said TCI had the opportunity to propose a similar agreement but balked. The legislation will be up for final passage next week.

Gave preliminary approval to a revamping of the city health code.

Under the measure, prohibitions such as "spitting on the ice," a ban enacted long ago, when ice was cut from the frozen harbor, would be eliminated. It would also cut a prohibition on ingestion of "unwholesome foods."

"That [would] eliminate my whole diet," said Councilman John L. Cain, chairman of the health and environment committee.

The council's Taxation and Finance Committee will meet at 2 p.m. today in council chambers to consider granting millions of dollars in future tax breaks -- known as payments in lieu of taxes -- to five downtown projects.

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