"We moved to this town because we wanted to move to a small town with a small-town feel," she added.

"We have a residential community with a certain environmental flavor," Jurkowski continued. "We've had no involvement in this."

Representatives of Upper Chesapeake Health defended the project, pointing out the city is only at the first step in a comprehensive planning approval project. Upper Chesapeake plans to develop the new hospital as a replacement for Harford Memorial Hospital in the city's downtown.

Mike Nicolaus, of HKS Architects, said the new hospital will be "one of the most progressive health care environments in the country."


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He said the office buildings and other structures planned would be as many as four stories tall, with the hospital potentially being seven stories, or 150 feet tall, which would make the hospital the tallest building in Harford County.

Lyle Sheldon, president and chief executive officer of Upper Chesapeake, noted he is a 25-year resident of Harford County and lives just outside Havre de Grace.

Sheldon said the ordinance reflects a collaborative effort, and the hospital has had "very constructive discussions, leading to many refinements being made."

Two tourism representatives also said they have concerns with the proposed 300-square-foot tourism space on the site.

William Watson, of the Tourism Advisory Board, said his group had a "cordial" meeting with Upper Chesapeake representatives, but found it "quite perplexing" that hospital officials thought the tourism group wanted to put the tourism site potentially inside the hospital site, in the place zoned for office use, instead of for retail.

He gave them assurances that tourism officials have no intention of building it in an office space.

Phil Hutson, of Elocutionist Way, has concerns about a helicopter pad, pointing out none would be allowed within 1,000 feet of a residence, which is still "pretty close."

Hutson said the pad could be closer to I-95.

He also urged the council to vote against the current ordinance and to consider the schedule, pointing out that the economy could keep the different phases from being built.

"I think we're moving too quickly on the schedule," he said.

Dino LaFiandra, a lawyer representing Upper Chesapeake, said the company would take the comments heard that night under consideration, and the hospital has had "constructive" dialogue with city staff.

"We are very confident that the zoning text amendment that you have before you is the minimum amount of amendment that's necessary for Upper Chesapeake to effect its vision for this medical campus," LaFiandra said.

Councilmen Bill Martin and Joe Smith said they were listening to residents' concerns and want to make sure the project is built right.

Smith, who was elected to the council last month, is a resident of Bulle Rock and said he knows many residents of the Paddocks.

2013 budget

The council passed the $12 million operating budget for 2013, with Martin pointing out very few changes were made to the proposed budget during the council's spring work sessions.