www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/belair/ph-ag-bel-air-work-0201-20130131,0,4591834.story

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Bel Air may swap small parcel near Shamrock Park, so new home can be built

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

5:01 PM EST, January 31, 2013

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After planning to sell a small piece of land near Shamrock Park nearly 10 years ago, Bel Air's Board of Town Commissioners is considering swapping the same parcel for a much larger one.

The town is planning to swap 900 square feet off of Lee Way, nearest to the corner by the Patrick Walker Memorial, for 4,200 square feet directly behind the memorial, Planning Director Kevin Small said at Tuesday's commissioners work session.

Also discussed briefly at the work session was the timing for installation of the much anticipated traffic signal at Boulton Street and Gateway Drive.

Land swap

The surplus land being considered for a swap with a private property owner is on the east side of Shamrock Park, where a memorial was erected last year in honor of a man who was stabbed to death following a road rage incident in Bel Air in 2006.

The town was originally going to sell the property in question to Matt Felton, of the 200 block of Shamrock Road, for a negotiated price of $10,050 in 2003.

The land was of interest to Felton because it would give him access to a back lot, which was cut off by a stream running through his property.

The commissioners, however, unanimously rejected that deal, after a number of people protested.

Commissioner David Carey said residents were upset about the original deal because they wanted to keep the site as is and did not want to see a house put on the vacant lot.

Carey and Small said the Felton family area considering putting a building for a relative on the property and need the town's land to build a driveway connecting the lot with Lee Way.

Small said the surplus arrangement will allow the town extend or double the land it has left in the area and will allow the Walker Memorial's grove to grow.

"We are trying to keep the character of the memorial grove from being affected," the planning director said.

Boulton and Gateway signal

Public works director Randy Robertson said the new traffic signal at Boulton Street and Gateway Drive will be installed soon.

The signal has been in the works for a long time, with many residents urging the town to install it to allow for safer exiting from Gateway Drive in the Harford Mall – English Country Manor neighborhood.

Robertson said BGE sent a contract to run electricity for the signal by the end of March.

He said the light will be synchronized with the light at the entrance to Best Buy but not with the lights at Tollgate Road and Route 24. Once the new light is installed, there will be four traffic signals along what amounts to about a quarter of a mile along Boulton Street. .

Town manager Chris Schlehr also said a groundbreaking will be held for the town's first Habitat for Humanity house at noon on Friday.