Bel Air development

John Roberts, owner of this 13.5-acre parcel off Fountain Green Road, is selling the land for housing development. The barn behind him will be torn down to build an access road to what will be called the Roberts Crossing subdivision. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF / September 18, 2013)

Two new, relatively small residential subdivisions are planned in the greater Bel Air area and members of the Harford County Development Advisory Committee reviewed them Wednesday, not without controversy.

Both developments are in places already crowded with houses, and county planning and zoning officials required the developers of one project to change its name because another project of the same name is being built nearby, on land owned by the same couple.

Amy DiPietro, associate with Morris & Ritchie Associates Inc., of Abingdon, presented a preliminary plan for the O'Connell Property, a proposed 21-home subdivision on 7.38 acres west of Tollgate Road and north of West Ring Factory Road, an area that has seen four other housing developments of various sizes approved in the past four years.

The property is owned by Kathleen and Michael O'Connell, of Bel Air; TWS Tollgate LLC, of Belcamp, is listed as the developer and contract purchaser.

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Jennifer Wilson, a planner representing the county's Department of Planning and Zoning on the committee, informed DiPietro that the name would have to be changed because of a conflict.

Moe Davenport, chairman of the committee, said later that a development in the area, also with the name O'Connell and on property also owned by the O'Connells, was recently approved by the county.

He said the developers would have to come up with a new name for the proposed project, to avoid confusion.

Wilson said during Wednesday's committee meeting that the developers must find a new name for the development "formerly known as the O'Connell Property."

The O'Connell project, if approved, would be built on land that is surrounded by property where the proposed Magness Overlook is slated to be built.

Davenport said construction has not started yet on Magness, a subdivision of several single family and town homes.

Bergerec Way would be built as an access road for the O'Connell subdivision through the Magness subdivision.

Rich Zeller, who represents the State Highway Administration on the committee, said agency officials had "no comment regarding proposed access to the development since it's going to be from county roads there's also no right of way impacts to SHA."

He said the developers would need to obtain a permit from the state, if proposed improvements to the nearby intersection of Ring Factory Road and Route 24 affect the state's right of way on the highway.

The developers have sought a waiver to build two panhandle lots, which are extended driveways that resemble panhandles and are often built to provide access to outlying parcels in a development, so the developer won't have to build additional interior roads.

The Harford County code allows for 10 percent of the lots in a proposed subdivision to have panhandle driveways, and waivers must be approved for additional panhandles.

"The department [of Planning and Zoning] will not consider the approval of the panhandle waiver without a significant reduction of the forest impacts or a revised forest," Wilson said.

Panhandle issues

Concerns over panhandle waivers also came up for the second proposed development, called Roberts Crossing.

The preliminary plan, presented by Mitch Ensor, a project manager with Bay State Land Services, of Forest Hill, calls for creating 16 residential lots on 13.57 acres off of Route 543 (Fountain Green Road) south of the Greenridge subdivision.

The Bob Ward Companies, of Edgewood, is listed as the developer and contract purchaser on the plan.