Residents oppose plans to build retirement home in Eldersburg SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber


Some Eldersburg residents are opposing plans for a 55-unit retirement home on a 3.8-acre site south of Liberty Road.

About 40 residents from Carrolltown and neighboring subdivisions attended a public hearing yesterday before the county Board of Zoning Appeals to voice opposition to the project. Because of other hearings before the board, residents didn't get time to speak.

However, John Maguire, a Westminster attorney representing Carrolltown residents, briefly outlined the group's opposition. He said residents are concerned about the development's effect on property values and about the high density of the project.

"We seek to protect property values and the integrity of the neighborhood," Mr. Maguire said. "It doesn't fit into the orderly growth of the neighborhood."

The Board of Zoning Appeals continued the hearing to 10:30 a.m. June 22 in Room 07 of the County Office Building.

The board must approve a conditional use for the retirement home before the project can proceed. The site at Marvin Avenue and Ridge Road is in an area zoned for residential use.

Magic Partnership would like to build seven ranch-style buildings on the site, said Rosario D. Rizzo, one of the owners of the property who also owns Dick's Lawn and Garden Center on Liberty Road.

The condominiums would range from 660 square feet to 880 square feet and have one or two bedrooms, Mr. Rizzo said. They would sell for $60,000 to $70,000.

Mr. Rizzo said the units would contain appliances, including washers and dryers.

The exterior of the buildings probably would be a mix of brick and aluminum siding, Mr. Rizzo said. An architect has not yet designed the condominiums, he said.

"We don't want this to look like Army barracks," Mr. Rizzo said. "Marketing would dictate that you make it look as attractive as possible."

A homeowners association would be formed to arrange for landscaping, maintenance and snow removal, Mr. Rizzo said. Owners would be required to pay annual fees for the services, he said.

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Rizzo, real estate appraiser Gerald Bitzel said the project would not be detrimental to property values and would blend in with the surrounding residential area. The project "would be consistent with orderly growth and wouldn't adversely affect lives or property," he said.

After the hearing, Rob Brown, who lives on Mid Summer Night Court, said most Carrolltown residents oppose the development because of concerns about property values and the high-density housing.

"We have a lot of valid concerns that we'd like to have answered," he said. "We're concerned about maintenance and upkeep and what the place will look like. It's going to be right in the middle of our community."

Mr. Brown said the homeowners have hired their own appraiser to testify before the Board of Zoning Appeals next month.

Adrian Das, president of the Carrolltown Association, who has lived in that development since 1979, said high-density elderly housing was never envisioned for the area.

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