Members of the Harford County Council unanimously approved a bill Tuesday night to upgrade a Bel Air-area road from private road status – where residents are responsible for all maintenance – to a county-maintained road.
Bill 14-8 makes Landis Circle, part of the Foxborough Farms community, a county-maintained road; each one of the 64 homeowners must pay an annual assessment of $218.75 for 20 years, which would pay back the county for the cost of the upgrade, according to the text of the legislation.
The legislation was introduced by Council President Billy Boniface at the request of Harford County Executive David Craig's administration.
Councilman Dion Guthrie announced during Tuesday's meeting that he was withdrawing two amendments to the bill.
He had planned to introduce amendments that would require Landis Circle residents to pay the assessment back in 10 years, rather than 20, because residents of Judy Way and Eloise Lane in Edgewood had only 10 years to pay back their assessments when the county upgraded their roads in the early 2000s.
"The effect of the amendments would kill the bill, and I have no interest to kill the bill," Guthrie said.
Guthrie noted that county administration officials at the time refused his request to extend Judy Way and Eloise Lane residents' time from 10 years to 20, although county staffers argued Tuesday that the council had passed a bill extending that time to 20 years.
Guthrie disputed the account, and Boniface cut off any further discussion because the amendments had been withdrawn.
"What I'm hoping here is, this bill creates a policy that we're going to go forward in the future, that anybody else comes in and attempts to get their road taken out of private status... that they will all be granted the same privilege to have the opportunity to pay this money back over a 20-year period instead of 10-year period," Guthrie said.
The council also unanimously approved two amendments to Councilman Chad Shrodes' Bill 14-10 that would reduce the required septic reserve area for new residential lots from 20,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet.
The amendments changed the word "conditioning" to "treatment," regarding water, on two pages of the bill.
"It's a stronger, better word to use," Shrodes explained.
Historic landmark designation
Council members heard testimony on several bills Tuesday during a public hearing that preceded their council meeting.
Bill 14-9, if passed, would designate the Orthodox Friends Meeting House in Darlington as a county historic landmark.
The two-story granite structure, which has a Peach Bottom slate roof, and the adjacent caretaker's house, were built during the 1800s.
The Orthodox sect of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, split from the Hicksite Quakers in Darlington during the late 1820s.
The Orthodox set up their meeting house on the 1.2 acres in the present-day 2200 block of Old Quaker Road in 1828, according to a history in the text of the bill.
The members of the group outgrew their first meeting house, and the cornerstone for the current house was laid in 1877.
Jeffrey Kobesky and Lisa Hendricks own the property.
Rock Glenn fields
Resolution 7-14, as presented by Erin Schafer of the county's Department of Procurement and Paul Magness of the Department of Parks and Recreation, would designate the 21.4-acre property at 200 Rock Glenn Blvd. in Aberdeen as surplus property and allow it to be transferred to the City of Aberdeen to use as a park.
"This project will provide more recreational opportunities for local residents, particularly in the City of Aberdeen," Schafer said.
Magness said the county, state and city put forth $2.4 million to purchase the property; he said in his testimony Tuesday that the city contributed $200,000 and the state $1 million.
Magness said Tuesday the land would be used for multipurpose playing fields, and then either a basketball court or playground "depending on the future needs and desires of what the city, as well as the Aberdeen Recreation Council, would be."
In response to a question from Councilman Richard Slutzky, Magness said baseball diamonds could be considered in future years if there was enough demand, and the city and Aberdeen Recreation Council desired them.
He said Wednesday that the county put up $1.2 million, and the state's contribution is a reimbursement of the county and city.
Havre de Grace business loan
Resolution 8-14 would allow the county council to endorse a $100,000 loan from the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, plus a $200,000 county Economic Development Opportunity Fund loan to assist Acer Exhibits and Events LLC in its move from Belcamp to Havre de Grace.
The county loan would be repaid over 10 years at 1.5 percent interest.
"The Office of Economic Development is very pleased to have worked with Acer Exhibits in keeping their business in Harford County," Tucker McNulty of the Office of Economic Development told the council.
Acer is a "full service custom exhibit agency" that assists clients with putting on trade shows, according to its website.
McNulty said the company performed a "multi-state" search for a new home as the lease on its Mercedes Drive facility in Belcamp came to an end.
The county worked with Acer officials, and they settled on a 167,867-square-foot facility on Clark Road in the Chesapeake Industrial Park in Havre de Grace, which the company purchased.
"The purchase of the building will give an overall lift to the Chesapeake Industrial Park in which it is situated," McNulty said.
The company purchased the building and must make significant improvements to the vacant facility, including renovations to the front office, new HVAC systems, energy-efficient windows and new flooring and ceiling tiles, McNulty explained.
The company will also maintain its workforce of 36 employees and add 20 people in the next two to three years.