Homeless proposal draws residents' fire Objectors say they fear loss in property values


Charles L. Halter walked out in the midst of a discussion last week of county government plans to open apartments for families making the transition from homeless shelters to their own apartments or houses.

"I was so mad I had to get out of there," the 80-year-old Littlestown Pike resident said Friday.

The target of Halter's anger and that of several other Littlestown Pike and Kriders Church Road residents is a proposal to create an apartment community on about 5 acres adjacent to the Carroll County Association for Retarded Citizens building on Kriders Church Road. Back yards of properties on the west side of Littlestown Pike and the north side of Kriders Church Road will face the complex.

The plan is to move five to seven houses to the site, which the county government bought to accommodate expansion of the nearby county airport. The houses are to be converted into 15 apartments and a community center and resident manager's house. Five of the houses are now on Littlestown Pike, two on Pinch Valley Road.

Put the apartments somewhere else, residents told county agency representatives at the Thursday night meeting. Suggested locations included Hampstead, Manchester and Silver Run.

It would be impractical to move the buildings to another community when a site is available 1,500 feet from Littlestown Pike, Jolene G. Sullivan, county director of citizen services, told the group of residents.

"Is the county going to compensate us? Are they going to buy our homes? No," said Michael Thomas of Kriders Church Road.

Residents expressed fears of declining property values, increased traffic and inadequate maintenance of the complex.

Halter said his concern is that "the resale value of my property will be less." He said he was also upset because he and other residents had been told that the houses purchased by the county would be demolished, "and now they're trying to move them."

Donald Carey, who bought his home on Kriders Church Road a year ago, said he had "never worked around people like that [homeless families]."

"I don't know what it's going to be like," he said, "but you hear so much bad about it."

Sylvia Canon, director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., a private non-profit corporation that operates homeless shelters, said maintenance would be contracted.

Canon said the apartment residents would be "folks like you." But no homeless shelter residents were present at the meeting.

Canon said that she did not ask shelter residents to talk to the apartments' prospective neighbors because "that's a different program with a different goal."

She acknowledged, however, that the apartments' tenants will be drawn from the shelters for homeless families and women with children. She said the apartments probably would not house single men from the men's shelter.

Architect J. Christopher Batten, who designed a concept plan for the apartment community, said he did not have a timetable for relocating and renovating the houses. The county is seeking a state grant for the capital project and a federal grant for operating costs.

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