YMCA expansion

This drawing of a concept plan for the Catonsville Y property on South Rolling Road shows the proposed Brightview senior housing facility, just south of the open orange rectangles at the top that designate the houses on Colgate Court. The planned expanded Catonsville Y is to the south and left, bordered by larger parking lot and forest. South Rolling Road is at far right. (Bohler Engineering / October 26, 2011)

The final hearing on the construction of a 140-unit senior residence facility along with the further expansion of the Catonsville Y on South Rolling Road is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8, in Towson.

At this time, area residents can address county officials about their concerns and hear about changes to the project since a July 12 meeting on the proposed expansion.

This week's hearing to decide whether to approve the project's Planned Unit Development will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 205 of the Jefferson Building, 105 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Towson.

The final proposal, with revisions made in response to comments at past meetings, will be presented during the session. Other engineering and architectural plans will need further county approval before construction can begin.

Representatives of neighboring homeowner associations have been invited to take part in this week's meeting.

Barring any delays, construction on the new Brightview project could begin in June 2013, according to Andrew Teeters, senior development director for the Shelter Group that plans to build a Brightview Senior Living development on 5 acres of the YMCA site.

The new community will have 75 independent living apartments, including studio and one- and two-bedroom units, according to Teeters.

It will also have a fitness area, although a partnership with the neighboring Y will provide its residents with access to the Y's programs and facilities, Teeters said.

"There's an incredible demand for independent living in Catonsville," Teeters said.

The project will include a dining room, cafe and pub for residents, as well as a library, computer center and multi-purpose rooms.

Some 90 parking spaces are also planned, mostly for staff and visitors although some independent residents are expected to bring their cars.

The Shelter Group, a Baltimore-based company, operates 25 senior housing communities in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including the 90-unit assisted living and Alzheimer's care facility less than half a mile away on Rolling Road.

"It's a win-win for the Y, Brightview and the community," said Tom Sullivan, vice president of the Foxhall Manor homeowners association, who plans to attend the meeting.

Sullivan said the group has not met on the subject and his opinion is based on informal conversations in the neighborhood.

Concerns about traffice have been raised, but that's a common concernt in the community, he said.

Dennis Keihm, president of the College Hills III 44-member homeowners association, said he plans to represent his neighbors at the meeting, though without an official message.

"We haven't taken a position as a homeowners association one way or the other," he said.

But, Keihm noted, the community's experience with Brightview has been positive. Brightview representatives have met with community associations to discuss things such as line-of-sight issues and landscaping plans.

They took the same kind of interest in the surrounding neighbors when Brightview Catonsville was built next to St. John's United Church of Christ, according to Keihm.

"They have proven themselves to be good to work with," he said.