Under the Regulations, the CEF District was established to encourage the creative development and redevelopment of commercial and residential properties through flexible zoning so that the proposed development complements and enhances the surrounding uses and creates a more coherent, connected development. The Applicant’s proposed CEF District is intended to provide a truly integrated continuing care retirement community experience within Howard County for people over the age of 62. As stated above, the CCRC proposed by the Applicant would result in 1,200 much needed independent living units and 240 health care units, consisting of assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities, resident amenity spaces and buildings, and accessory uses necessary for the operation of the community or for the benefit or convenience of the residents and their guests.
The development of the Site in accordance with Applicant’s proposed CEF District fulfills a number of stated land use policies within the General Plan and satisfies a growing and documented need for a continuing care retirement community within Howard County for people over the age of 62. The presence of such a CCRC will allow the County’s aging population the flexibility to age in place within the County.
Chapter 6 (Growth) of the Howard County General Plan notes the following:
[w]hereas the total U.S. population grew by 9.7% from 2000 to 2010, those entering the 45 to 64 year age cohort, the approximate ages of the baby boomers, increased by 31.5% during that time period. Baby boomers currently make up about 29% of the countywide population and are starting to move into the 65-plus age cohort.
PlanHoward, Chapter 6 (Growth), pg. 66
Furthermore, the Howard County General Plan makes the pertinent finding that
[w]hereas the overall County population increased by 16%, those 65 and over increased by 57%. There are now 10,577 more residents 65 and older compared to ten years ago – 29,045 total in 2010 compared to 18,468 in 2000. Almost 27% of the total increase of 39,243 residents over the decade was comprised of those aged 65 and older. The very old, 85 and over, increased by 47%. This trend will continue as the baby boomers continue to age.
PlanHoward, Chapter 6 (Growth), pg. 66
As such, Policy 9.4 of the Howard County General Plan aims to “expand housing options to accommodate the County’s senior population who prefer to age in place and people with special needs.” In support of that Policy Goal, the Howard County General Plan finds that the
County’s housing stock should support the aging population and will need to continue General Plan 2000 policies to promote diverse senior housing for those that wish or need to downsize to more easily maintained units as they age. The policies should also continue to support seniors who choose to age in place in their own homes or in their own communities…The County also recognizes that as older residents’ ability to live independently diminishes, they often need to move to housing that provides support services. There are both nursing and assisted living options for seniors in the County, offering a continuum of services, from acute care to congregate and group housing to in-home services. In order to accommodate the projected 19% of residents age 65 or older by 2030, the County’s support of continuing care housing and services must be maintained.
PlanHoward, Chapter 9 (Housing), pp. 130-131
- Allow greater design flexibility and a broader range of development alternatives than the existing zoning district.
As stated above, the Site consists of an existing motor vehicle fueling facility and two undeveloped RC-DEO parcels located along Route 108. Each of the RC-DEO parcels is currently outside of the PSA and, alone, neither would be capable of satisfying the criteria for the expansion of public water and sewer services under the General Plan. As such, these RC-DEO zoned parcels would remain within the Tier IV growth tier for development purposes and would be limited to a single minor residential subdivision on each such property. Under the Applicant’s proposed CEF District, all of these underutilized properties are aggregated and integrated into a single connected design which fulfills a stated land use policy goal of the General Plan and allows for these sites to be developed to their highest and best uses while simultaneously allowing the Applicant to provide Community Enhancements under Section 121.0.G far in excess of those which would be possible without the implementation of the flexible standards of the CEF District.
- Provide features and enhancements which are beneficial to the community in accordance with Section 121.0.G.
As set forth above and shown in greater detail on the Plan, and in addition to those public benefits noted elsewhere herein, the Applicant’s proposed CEF District shall provide those Community Enhancements under Section 121.0.G stated in Section 7 above, all of which are beneficial to the community and the County as a whole.
- Provide a higher quality of site design and amenities than is possible to achieve under the standard provisions of existing zoning district requirements.
The Applicant’s proposed CEF District will result in an integrated CCRC providing much needed independent living units, 240 health care units, consisting of assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities, resident amenity spaces and buildings, and accessory uses necessary for the operation of the community or for the benefit or convenience of the residents and their guests, all in a well-developed and coordinated campus setting (See Applicant’s Plan attached hereto). The site design proposed by the Applicant hereunder utilizes the entire Site and takes advantage of the existing topography and environmental features to create a vibrant interconnected senior community which would not be possible under the underlying zoning. In addition, the inclusion of the existing motor vehicle fueling facility within the Site, will allow this use to be redeveloped under modern standards (including, but not limited to, recessed lighting fixtures, environmental controls, and enhanced circulation and pedestrian safety features) with enhanced landscaping and streetscape features which would otherwise not be possible under the underlying zoning.
The development of the Site as an integrated design under the Applicant’s proposed CEF District allows for the creation of amenity spaces and buildings, walkways and bike paths, gardens, and open space areas throughout the project on a scale which would not be possible under the underlying zoning.
- Encourage creative architectural design with the most favorable arrangement of site features, based on physical site characteristics and contextual sensitivity to surrounding developments.
As shown and depicted on the Plan, the Applicant’s proposed CCRC is sited in 2 development “neighborhoods” upon the eastern and western portions of the Site, each consisting of series of 1-5 story buildings and amenity spaces with internal roadways throughout. The separation of the improved areas of the Site into these 2 development areas integrates those stream and wetland features and buffers located through the middle of the Site as well as those specimen trees located throughout while simultaneously limiting the disturbance of those features in the development of the CCRC.
Furthermore, by providing underground parking in each of these two development areas for the vast majority of the parking needs of the residents as well as guests and employees, the Applicant proposed CEF District takes an unprecedented approach to reducing impervious surfaces on site resulting from surface parking.
The architecture of the CCRC buildings is proposed to acknowledge the traditional and diverse nature of the neighborhood aesthetic and will complement the surrounding residential and commercial uses.
- Serve as a transitional area by providing a mix of uses compatible with the surrounding community.
As stated above, the Site, itself, is bordered to the southwest by a mix of B-1 and B-2 commercial properties, undeveloped RC-DEO agricultural land under preservation easements to the west and north, single-family dwellings across Sheppard Lane to the northeast, and the existing River Hill Garden and Landscape Design Center and Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church to the immediate east. A section of the Village of River Hill developed as single-family detached dwellings is located to the east of the River Hill Garden and Landscape Design Center and Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church properties approximately 400’ from the boundary of the Site. The Applicant has intentionally sited buildings of 1 to 3 stories along the portions of the Site adjoining Sheppard Lane and buildings of 4 or fewer stories along Route 108 to limit the visual impact on proposed CCRC community on the surrounding area. The proposed use of the Site under this CEF District provides a mix of commercial and residential uses in a campus-like setting which serves as an appropriate transition between the surrounding mix of commercial, institutional, residential, and agricultural uses in terms of scale, height, mass, and architectural detail.
- Encourage aggregation of underutilized properties.
See Section 8(A) above.