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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Harford council approves apartments for Plumtree

The Harford County Council upheld a zoning hearing examiner's decision to grant a special exception for a developer to build 198 apartments at Plumtree Road.

The council agreed Tuesday with hearing examiner Robert Kahoe by a vote of 6 to 1. Only Councilman Jim McMahan, who represents the neighborhood, voted against it.

The decision was adopted based on an agreement sent in by the Harford County's Office of People's Counsel last week with the developer.

That settlement lists 12 conditions, including mentioning that "all residential units will be offered at market price."

Kahoe had said in his decision that no unit would be allowed to "be leased on a subsidized or assistance basis" and the owners "shall not participate in a voucher, Section 8 or similar program."

Other conditions of the settlement require the site plan meet all county conditions, active and passive open space, mitigation for impacted intersections, a fence, a vegetative buffer and multi-family units that look similar to the architectural renderings submitted by the applicant.

Brian Young, the People's Counsel, and Robert Lynch, an attorney for Evergreen Business Trust and Peak Management LLC, declined to explain or elaborate on the conditions.

Lynch said last week that they "speak for themselves."

County council members didn't comment on the decision during Tuesday's meeting, and no one from the public commented on it.

Bill Wehland, a resident who has spoken out against the project and the proposed Walmart in that area, said at last week's council meeting that he was irritated to only hear about the agreement shortly before the meeting.

He also said he does not see the purpose of the agreement as most of the conditions are items Evergreen would have to meet anyway if it continued with the project.

Kahoe had ruled the site plan for the apartment complex, which would be built on 17.54 acres at the southwest corner of Plumtree Road and Route 24 south of Bel Air, meets county requirements for building in high-density residential zones.

Edgewood sustainability, more zoning appeals

Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council voted on two more zoning appeals cases, approving a variance to disturb wetlands on the south side of Bynum Run at Route 1 in Forest Hill.

The council overturned Kahoe's decision in that case.

The applicant, Kevin Geraghty, had requested the variance to make 3,614 square feet of non-tidal wetlands and 19,022 feet of natural resource district buffer part of his larger adjacent holdings, according to the earlier zoning hearing examiner ruling.

He also argued that the wetlands may dry up or disappear if leakage is stopped and that the 1.09-acre parcel is sufficiently large enough for commercial purposes.

The council upheld Kahoe's decision denying a special exception to a couple to have a kennel with animal shelter and runways within 200 feet of the lot line in an agricultural district on Glen Cove Road in Darlington.

Council members also approved a resolution designating Edgewood as a sustainable community district, which would allow it to apply for certain government funding.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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