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Marlton housing could help county senior boom A proposed senior housing development in Marlton may ease the expected influx of senior residents in the county, an issue the Maryland Department of Aging says the county is ill prepared to handle. The agency estimates there were 90,000 county residents age 60 and older in the year 2000. By 2030, that number is expected to soar to 226,600 a 150 percent increase in the senior population. With new housing developments sprouting up throughout the area, only a handful are designed specifically for the aging population. But some companies are taking note of the demographic change. In one case, a proposal to build 104 senior apartments next to the Marlton Plaza shopping center has been filed with Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning (MNCPPC). "It's widely understood that there's a shortage of age restricted housing throughout the county," said attorney Anthony Brown, who submitted the proposal on behalf of Phoenix Construction and PSR Associates. MNCPPC is also noticing a rise in the demand for senior housing. "We've had four or five applications for senior housing [developments] in the past year. A couple years ago, we were only seeing one or two," said Arie Stouten, zoning supervisor for MNCPPC. Already the owners of the Marlton Plaza shopping center, the developers stand to benefit financially, but they also see the location as an advantage for the senior residents that would live there. "We believe that the senior apartments will be compatible with the adjoining shopping center. A lot of the services our residents would look to use are right there in the shopping center," said Brown, who is a District 25 state delegate from Mitchellville. "One of the main things seniors are looking for is convenience to shopping centers," Stouten said of locating the apartments within the shopping center. With or without convenience, Rosenthal says the need for more senior focused services will soon surpass the means. "The county is going to need to do some serious strategic planning to meet the needs of this growing older population," said Rosenthal. She added that while other counties in southern Maryland will also see strong growth in the 60 and older crowd, their growth will not be as overwhelming as an increase would be here where the aging population is already high. The proposed Marlton housing project is being reviewed by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning with a tentative hearing date set for Jan. 29. Brown said his clients would likely break ground shortly after the project reaches approval though it would be hard to say when the development would be completed.