Site considered for affordable housing found to be unsuitable

October 17, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Howard County housing officials are no longer interested in buying an Elkridge parcel for affordable homes because they found methane gas on the property, housing administrator Leonard S. Vaughan said.

"That was enough to let us know that we cannot go through with the purchase," he said.

The 7.2-acre tract - which appeared to be a perfect site for the county Housing Commission to build and subsidize houses for moderate-income families - has been a roller-coaster ride for Howard officials.

The project was thrown into jeopardy last month when Vaughan discovered that federal restrictions would prevent him from using the block grant he was counting on to pay for the land. Then, to his delight, the restrictions were eased.

Tests concluded Friday But when contractors finished an environmental assessment of the land Friday, they concluded that the property contains methane gas.

"I would love to be in the position to build some affordable housing there, but that's the reason you do these tests - to make sure you don't have a problem," Vaughan said.

He said he is investigating two other properties in eastern Howard County for affordable housing projects. One is about the same size as the Elkridge property, and one is much larger, he said.

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