BY MARISSA GALLO, email@example.com
5:01 PM EDT, July 19, 2012
Automotive dealership Jones Junction is planning to open another auto sales building on Belair Road and a detail shop just up the street on Harford Road.
The county's Development Advisory Committee reviewed the plans Wednesday morning, which drew many concerned citizens, as did a review of the plans for the Hamilton development just up Harford Road (please see story, Page A1).
Jones businesses occupy a significant area around the intersection of Harford Road, Belair Road and Baltimore Pike, including almost all the triangle bounded by Harford, Belair and Connolly roads. It also has businesses along most of the eastern portion of Belair Road and Baltimore Pike, from Connolly Road to the former Hinder dealership.
Jones' plan is to convert Aref's, previously an Oriental rug store, at 1329A Belair Road, just north of the split with Business Route 1, into a used car sales lot and motor vehicle service and storage building.
Amy Dipietro, with Morris and Ritchie Associates, said 14 parking spots are proposed for the sale portion of the facility and 33 spots to support the storage and sales of vehicles.
"We're not anticipating a large increase in traffic due to the change in use," she said.
Rich Zeller, with the Maryland State Highway Administration, said there were concerns with traffic at the existing site entrance and his agency would want to review trip generation numbers to determine what the impacts are.
Ernest Memphis, who lives in the 1300 block of Terry Way in Fallston, said he is concerned how the project and possible excessive light could affect property values of nearby homes.
Lawsuits are pending against Harford County, Jones Junction and BGE, filed by three Fallston couples last August who claim lighting from a Jones property has disrupted them for more than a year.
"I ask all of you that have the power," Memphis said, "to make sure you protect our home investments."
Tim Snyder, of the 300 block of Surrey Court, said his biggest concern is also the lighting.
He said when Jones acquired the former Hinder Lincoln-Mercury dealership, also on Belair Road, in June 2010, the project didn't come before DAC and no lighting had to be approved.
"It's easier to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission," he said, adding that the light on Terry Way is "ridiculous."
Snyder asked DAC members if the public will have a chance to look at the lighting plan before it is approved.
Shane Grimm, with planning and zoning, said a detailed lighting plan will need to be submitted and when that is available and Snyder and anyone else from the public can view it.
DAC chairman Moe Davenport clarified that Jones wasn't required to go through the DAC process when it took over the Hinder property because it was not changing the use of the building — it was still going be an auto dealership.
As for the lighting, Davenport said, "We learned a lot of things from that."
Fallston resident Morita Bruce said the lighting issue has come up at several Fallston Community Council meetings.
Bruce, who is part of the council and the president of the land use advocacy group Friends of Harford, added that residents never had a problem with Hinder, but when Jones acquired the property "they wiped out trees that were a buffer between properties and increased lighting far above what BGE told the Fallston community they recommended."
She asked DAC members and Jones representatives in attendance to leave the buffer between the property and houses alone.
"That buffer is critical to the people behind them," Bruce said.
Not as many people commented on the proposed detail shop, which would be at 1710 Harford Road.
Jones wants to construct a 9,980-square-foot building for vehicle detail work. The property has an existing vehicle storage facility, which would remain.
Zeller said the SHA is also concerned about traffic with this project and would need to review numbers for it.
Virginia Sauers, who lives in the 1900 block of Harford Road, said the property looks "really nice right now" and it complements Jones' other buildings.
She added there is extra traffic at the intersection of Harford and Connolly roads because of people going to Annie's Playground and the Benson post office.
She suggested a traffic circle might alleviate traffic problems.
Zeller recognized the potential traffic issues and reiterated the SHA would "like to have the opportunity to review some traffic numbers."