Bel Air's town commissioners approved the receipt of two easements in a meeting Monday night, one of which brings the town closer to making a local alley into a wider street.
Not everyone appears to agree with the plan for block-long, narrow thoroughfare on the edge of Howard Park known as Western Alley.
Department of Public Works Director Randolph Robertson presented a 30-foot right-of-way easement for Western Alley, from a developer, Northern Bay Real Estate LLC, which intends to build a single-family house on an adjacent property.
According to town records, the building permit for the house was issued in July.
With this easement, Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said, the town has all but two easements needed to widen the alley into a full street.
Part of the alley, which runs between Thomas and George streets, borders Plumtree Park. Two houses are on the west side of the alley.
Another possible change under consideration to Western Alley was questioned during the public comment part of Monday's town meeting.
Resident Fran Johnson asked about Commissioner Edward Hopkins' suggestion to change the name from Western Alley to Scott Avenue or Scott Drive. The Scotts were a prominent 18th and 19th century family in Harford County that once owned most of the land that became the Town of Bel Air.
Hopkins discussed the potential name change last week during a work session, during which he said Western Alley has no historical significance and in some cases, the name "alley" could have a negative connotation.
Johnson disagreed, saying the name was not "deterring" people from the area.
Another resident, French Poole, backed up Johnson and briefly mentioned the new Auto Zone on Route 1, questioning why it and the new house approved for Western Alley are being built.
Mayor David Carey replied that the town commissioners are not involved in approving the construction of businesses or houses, in accordance with the law, and have appointed citizens to the Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission to make such decisions.
Town commissioners Monday also approved what amounts to a traffic signal easement from Harford Mall Business Trust for Gateway Drive and Boulton Street.
The easement will allow the town to eventually install a four-way traffic signal at that intersection to relieve traffic. Until money becomes available and more traffic counts are taken, however the town plans to install a camera to detect back-ups on Gateway Drive and better regulate signals at Boulton and Tollgate Road and at Boulton and the entrance to Best Buy.
Town commissioners also awarded a contract for $147,570 to Hickory International for a 2012 20-yard demolition packer trash truck.
Commissioners also approved a resolution to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County.
The Boys and Girls Clubs, according to President Tory Pierce, applied for a Maryland tax credit from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and needs local government support.
The tax credit will help the club get donations from individuals and businesses for an educational program which, according to Pierce, is an after-school program to help students ages 6 through 18 with homework and other educational activities.
Commissioners also approved the appointment of Thomas Coard to serve another term on the Economic and Community Development Commission.
Commissioners recognized newly promoted police officers Sgt. Robert Pfarr and Cpl. David Madden.
Caleb Dorsch and Erika Richardson were recognized for their work on the Bel Air Teen Center.
The Bel Air Braves 12U baseball team was congratulated and presented with certificates for winning the Cal Ripken District 8 Tournament in late June, making them the hosts for Harford County during the Cal Ripken World Series, which began Friday in Aberdeen.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun