A ruling on whether Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan Association will be allowed to build a new branch at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW has been delayed by new objections from neighborhood residents, according to a spokesman for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

The spokesman, Robert Marshall, said "a number" of new briefs have been filed in the case, which has been before the FHLBB for nearly a year. Marshall said the delay could be "quite some time." He said late last month that a final FHLBB decision was expected in early April.

The proposed branch would be Perpetual's 11th. Its application has run into protests from two dozen neighborhood residents and organizations.

The protests allege that Perpetual's lending record and loan policies would contribute to further "Georgetownization" of the Adams-Morgan and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods, which are economically and ethnically mixed. Perpetual has defended its record and policies, has been meeting for months with community groups to try to arrive at a compromise.

All of the recently-filed protests are from individuals, most of them Spanish-American residents of the community. More than half the city's Spanish-American population lives in Adams-Morgan and Mt. Pleasant.

The new protests allege that Spanish-American sentiment was not accurately measured by the FHLBB when it surveyed the area last year to determine if the proposed branch would be welcome and successful.