The Annapolis City Council decides tonight whether to lend a non-profit developer $450,000 to boost the city's ever-dwindling supply of affordable housing.

The city would borrow the money to buy three acres off Forest Drive where South County Residential Properties would build 30 affordable town houses.

The developer, working with the county's Community Action Agency,would take over ownership of the land, then repay the city after selling the homes, said William Tyler, the city's finance director.

After approving the loan, the council would have to approve use of theland for affordable housing.

With city approval, construction could begin this summer, Tyler said.

The homes would cost qualified buyers $70,000 to $75,000 each, he said.

The project would become the largest affordable housing venture financed by the city, planners said.

The resolution authorizing the city to borrow the money is sponsored by Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and Aldermen Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, and Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6.

In September, the council sent a plan to build affordable housing on the same site back to the finance committee because of concerns that high costs would make the homes too expensive for low- to moderate-income buyers.

The Community Action Agency had asked the city to buy the three-acre tract for the project.

But two feasibility studies done for the city said sitework, roads and utilities would have cost an additional $450,000, making it difficult to keep the homes affordable, finance committee members had said.

Under the revised plan, however, the private developer would pick up the tab for such costs, and taxpayers would foot none of the bill for the project, Tyler said.

The council also had been scheduled to vote tonight on a controversial plan to expand Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.'s Tyler Avenue power substation.

But the council delayed the vote at the request of Turner, whose district includes the substation.

BG & E says the expansion would double the substation's capacity, to help meet increased demand for electricity and prevent blackouts.

But some residents and aldermen have expressed concern that the electromagnetic field from the substation expansion could endanger residents' health.

BG & E officials testified that the expansion would pose no risk to residents' health.

The council meets 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.

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