Developers are seeking Harford County approval to create 30 residential lots on 175.22 acres west of Havre de Grace, the second phase of the Susquehanna Meadows housing development.
The land, which is zoned for agricultural use, is owned and will be developed by the Estate of Elwood V. Stark, of Bel Air.
Plans for the Susquehanna Meadows addition were among several reviewed by the Harford County Development Advisory Committee on Jan. 15.
Louis Schaffer, project manager with the Bel Air design firm Frederick Ward Associates, presented a preliminary plan for the 30 lots to the committee. The first phase of the development consists of 14 lots, seven of which have been built on, Schaffer said after the meeting.
The second phase will be served by wells and septic systems, and Len Walinski, who represents the Harford County Health Department on the committee, said test wells must be dug on the property to determine if any volatile organic compounds, or pesticides, are in the soil or groundwater.
Schaffer said that is standard practice to determine if there are any contaminants on the site.
The property is near the intersection of Webster Lapidum and Cooley Mill roads, off of Route 155 (Level Road), and just west of the interchange of Route 155 and I-95.
It is also just south of Susquehanna State Park and close to the Harford Jewish Center.
Victoria Paxton-Hill, who lives in the vicinity of the state park, brought to the committee meeting a number of concerns expressed to her by residents in Susquehanna Meadows.
The neighbors were not at the meeting, which began at 9 a.m. in Bel Air and lasted for about three hours because there nine items on the agenda. DAC agendas typically have two or three items and meetings usually last for about an hour.
"I know the community in general is against it," Paxton-Hill said. "Most people moved to the area because they wanted to live in a rural area."
She said neighbors are concerned about the impact of storm water runoff on the Susquehanna River and its tributaries in the area, "which we obviously have problems with."
She said neighbors also worry about the impact on traffic at the intersection of Cooley Mill and Webster Lapidum roads, which she described as "narrow" and said it is difficult to see vehicles coming.
"With the increase in traffic that would make that intersection, I would think, considerably more dangerous," Paxton-Hill said.
She also asked about the impact on intersections in the surrounding region.
Rich Zeller, who represents the State Highway Administration on the committee, noted the agency did not have specific comments on the project since the access to the property will be off of county roads, but SHA officials are reviewing a traffic impact analysis submitted by the developer to determine how intersections of nearby state roads will be affected.
Paxton-Hill also brought up community concerns about the location of two cemeteries that could be affected by the development.
Schaffer said one had been found, but the second had not been identified yet.
"That doesn't mean we've given up," he said.
Moe Davenport, chairman of the committee, told Paxton-Hill that many of the community's environmental concerns could be addressed by efforts the developers are making to improve about 30 to 40 acres of forest, wetlands and streams on the property that are "currently open and plowed and disked and so forth," referring to prior agricultural uses of the land.
"There's a long-term plan for the ecological restoration of the stream valleys in the area, which I think are going to address a lot of your concerns with the watershed and the water quality," he told Paxton-Hill.
Other plans reviewed
As developers continue to ramp up their activities in what appears to be an improving economy, several other plans were reviewed by the Development Advisory Committee during its most recent meeting:
• Dollar General: The 9,100 square-foot store is planned at the busy Dublin crossroads at the intersection of Route 1 (Conowingo Road) and Route 136 (Whiteford Road), on 1.43 acres. The intersection already has Wawa and Royal Farms convenience stores, a bank and other businesses.
• Ainsley Forest: The plan proposes creating 16 residential lots within 168.655 acres off of Route 136 (Calvary Road) southeast of Bel Air. The lots would be created north of Bynum Hills Road and at the current end of 12 Stones Road.
• Redleif Run: The plan proposes creating 27 residential lots within 255.74 acres of Fielder family farm near the intersection of Route 136 (Calvary Road) and Route 543 (South Fountain Green Road), also southeast of Bel Air.
• Harford Hill Farm: The plan proposes 12 single-family residential lots on 246.6 acres off Pocock Road in Fallston. The site also touches the end of Engle Road, just west of its intersection with Route 152 (Fallston Road).
• The Riverwoods at Tollgate: The plan proposes construction of a 79-unit housing complex for senior citizens at the end of Arundel Court in Constant Friendship Business Park in Abingdon, along with an 84-unit garden apartment complex and a community center, plus a 61,200 square-foot storage facility.
• Whiteford Land Associates LLC Lot 7: The owner proposes creating one residential lot within 157.102 acres, currently zoned agricultural, at the intersection of Slate Ridge Road and Ridge Road in Whiteford.