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baltimoresun.com

Harford to spend $4 million more for ag preservation

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

5:41 PM EDT, October 16, 2012

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Hundreds more acres could be put into agricultural preservation in Harford County, at a cost of more than $4 million, as the County Council gets ready to deal with several agricultural-related bills in the coming month.

The council introduced four bills at its meeting Oct. 9 to put land in Pylesville, White Hall and Forest Hill into preservation, as well as bills that would alter the land easement ranking system and appropriate $3 million to the preservation fund from the county's unappropriated fund balance.

The county would be acquiring development rights for 225 acres at 2417 Ady Road in Forest Hill from Janice Barrow-Widman for a maximum price of $1.3 million and putting 196 acres on the same site into a $1.1 million preservation easement; acquiring development rights for 156 acres for a maximum of $767,000 from Benjamin and Barbara Lowe at 4909 Fawn Grove Road in Pylesville and putting 135 acres on the site into a $664,000 preservation easement; acquiring development rights for 78 acres on 3038 Green Road in White Hall from Scott and Debra English and putting 63 acres into a $180,000 preservation easement.

In light of the council's recent criticism of the state's new Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act, another bill would change parts of the easement priority ranking system as far as the points assigned to number of family conveyances, consistent with county land use plan and farm size.

One other bill introduced at the last council meeting would give more leeway to roadside "peddlers and hawkers" by allowing larger vehicles in certain instances.

The definition of a commercial vehicle, for the purpose of the bill, would include trailers weighing more than 7,000 pounds instead of 6,000 pounds.

The bill would remove a weight and size limit on commercial vehicles used in agricultural and residential districts.

Instead of specifying that a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds and 22 feet in length is allowed in such districts, the code would just allow one vehicle per lot.

Also at the Oct. 9 meeting, the council approved the fall update of the 2012 water and sewer plan.

Several appointments and reappointments were acted upon by the council:

• Elizabeth Campion, Tara Dedeaux and Douglas DeLeaver were reappointed to the Board of Ethics.

• Karl Hauser was reappointed and David Mincin appointed to the Building Code Board of Appeals.

• Gregory Kappler and Nicholas Walls were appointed to the Environmental Advisory Board.

• Vickie Bands and Joyce Byrd were reappointed and Claudia Sconion and the Rev. Baron Young were appointed to the Advisory Board on Aging.