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Daughters of Charity requested the zoning change For senior housing

Ashley Andyshak Hayes
Frederick News-Post

(8/23) Residents will have a second chance next week to voice their opinions on a proposed zoning change that would allow senior housing in areas designated for open space.

The Daughters of Charity requested the zoning change, which would allow part of the Daughters' Provincial House to be transformed into affordable senior housing. A hearing on the proposed change was held on Aug. 16 and has been continued to Tuesday's town meeting.

Open space zoning in town permits the development of farms and nurseries, parks and recreation facilities, game, wildlife and nature study preserves, schools, churches and other public buildings, municipal and public works buildings and nursing homes.

Other uses considered similar to those listed can be permitted by special exception if approved by the town's board of appeals.

The 45-year-old Provincial House already includes independent and assisted living facilities for retired Sisters, and skilled nursing care facilities within St. Vincent Care Center and St. Catherine Nursing Center. However, about 150,000 square feet of the building is unused, said Lori Stewart, director of development and public relations for the Daughters.

The Daughters have proposed developing about 95 apartments within the Provincial House that would be open to residents ages 62 and older with yearly incomes between $10,000 and $40,000. The plan also includes expansion of the assisted living and nursing care capacity at St. Catherine's.

"The Daughters are very interested in providing a solution that will both align with their mission and benefit the town," Stewart said in an e-mail.

The Daughters have said any additional town water supply required by the project would be offset by conservation measures, and the new housing would provide additional property tax revenue for the town.

During the August hearing, commissioners requested that town staff rewrite the ordinance and bring it back for a continued hearing this month.

The first draft of the ordinance was written by representatives for the Daughters and Homes for America, an Annapolis-based management company that helped develop the project, and the draft did not necessarily take into consideration all town concerns, Commissioner Denise Etris said. If the zoning change is approved, it will affect all open space zones in town, not just the area in the Daughters' proposal.

Town manager Dave Haller said staff has been directed to do a total rewrite of the ordinance, and could not specify any changes that would be made.

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