Office addition plan along Route 924 near Bel Air raises concerns for neighbors

The office property has shared access with a residential community

A proposal to expand the existing office building on the Jones Advisory LLC property off of Route 924 south of Bel Air, plus build a second office building there, has prompted concerns from residential neighbors about increased traffic.

Stephanie Drane, a principal in the accounting services firm, is seeking Harford County approval to subdivide the existing 1.42-acre site into two lots, build a two-story 3,000 square-foot addition to her company's existing building, which is a converted house, on the first lot and build a 6,000 square-foot new office building on the second lot.

"She's adding an addition to her office building, as her business has been very successful," David Taylor, of the David G. Taylor & Associates LLC engineering firm, said as he presented the preliminary and site plans for the project during a hearing before the county's Development Advisory Committee Wednesday morning.

The property, which is zoned RO for residential office use, is at the intersection of Route 924 and Glengate Court, adjacent to the Glen Gate residential community.

Motorists have access to the site from Route 924 and from Glengate Court – drivers can get onto Glengate from Route 924 and then make a right turn from Glengate into the Jones Advisory property. The access drive, the result of an ingress/egress easement agreement between the business and the community, is just before a gatehouse at the entrance to Glen Gate.

Nina Oleamuno, president of the Glen Gate Homeowners' Association, said she has "serious concerns about the safety of using the Glengate [Court] entrance as ingress-egress for Jones Advisory."

She recalled an incident Monday when a motorist leaving Glen Gate and a motorist leaving Jones Advisory almost hit each other as they entered Glengate Court at the same time.

"They both had to come to an abrupt stop," she recalled. "If they weren't driving slow they could have had an accident."

Rich Zeller, who represents the State Highway Administration on the DAC, said his agency recommends the installation of signs marking the Route 924 access as "in only" from the state highway, as it is only wide enough to allow traffic to come into the property, but not exit back out onto Route 924.

"It doesn't meet the width criteria for a full movement," Zeller said.

He said, in response to a request form Oleamuno to make the Glengate Court access ingress only too, that the area is not in SHA's jurisdiction, since a local road is involved.

"Our position is that the entrance on 924 meets the criteria for an in-only [access]," Zeller said.

Taylor acknowledged the traffic will increase, from an estimated 100 average daily trips to about 429 average daily trips.

"That's unavoidable, but this is an existing use and we're adding to [the property], and we're building a new building," he said.

Taylor said the area around Glengate Court "should be a low-speed travel area for cars," and he told members of the public it is probably a good idea to "formalize" it with a stop sign.

T-Mobile monopole

Wireless service provider T-Mobile is seeking county approval to install a 195-foot tall monopole antenna in the Edgewater Village Shopping Center in the 1800 block of Pulaski Highway.

The monopole will "provide and improve delivery of cell service to the commercial businesses and residents in the Edgewood area," Julie Arnold, of Eco-Site, a Durham, N.C.-based builder of wireless infrastructure, told committee members.

Eco-Site and T-Mobile are collaborating on the monopole project, according to Arnold.

She said there are no other towers or other tall structures nearby. The nearest cell tower is about three quarters of a mile from the site of the new tower.

Arnold said that tower is "at capacity for T-Mobile and does not target the area that is most needed."

The tower would be built on a 15.05-acre site that is zoned B3 for commercial use.

"Telecommunication towers are permitted by right," Arnold said.

Her presentation generated few comments from DAC members and no comments from the public.

Heritage Hill plan reviewed

A proposal to convert the Harloe family's historic single-family home in the 300 block of Vale Road into a personal care boarding home for senior citizens has been approved by a county zoning hearing examiner, and the plan went before the DAC as the next step in the process Wednesday.

Joyce and David Apperson have a contract to purchase the seven-bedroom house, which was built during the 1860s and is known as Heritage Hill, from Diana Harloe. The proposed assisted living facility would serve up to 14 residents and would be staffed 24 hours a day.

Mitch Ensor, of the Bay State Land Services engineering firm in Forest Hill, told committee members few changes are planned for the exterior of the house or the surrounding property.

"We only propose to add accessible parking [for the disabled] to the site and add a few parking spaces so that we meet the minimum required," Ensor said.

Nine parking spaces are proposed.

Bill Snyder, who represents Harford's volunteer fire and EMS companies, recommended several upgrades to make it easier for ambulances to get in and out, as "EMS service is going to increase."

He said the access road should be about 22 feet wide, a Knox key box should be installed so firefighters and EMS workers can get into the building, and there should be a designated area in the parking lot for ambulance loading and unloading.

The property is served by well water and a septic system for wastewater and sewage disposal. Len Walinski, of the Harford County Health Department, said developers must connect to the public sewer system nearby that serves the Vale Meadows subdivision and the water line along Vale Road.

Walinski noted the property is in Harford County's master water and sewer service area, and the "proposed project represents an increase" in water use and daily wastewater flow.

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