Plans for Winters Run property development on September DAC agenda

Plans to create five residential lots on land owned by the Winters Run Golf Club in Bel Air are scheduled to go before the members of Harford County's Development Advisory Committee next month.

Gemcraft Homes of Forest Hill has a contract to purchase 11.9 acres off North Tollgate Road, west of the intersection with Sunset Drive, according to a copy of the preliminary plan posted on the website of the Development Advisory Committee, commonly known as the DAC.

The land, between Tollgate and the eighth and ninth holes at Winters Run, is also occupied by a red barn and the historic Joesting-Gorsuch House, which was built during colonial times.

The plan will be reviewed by committee members during their Sept. 3 meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. in a conference room on the second floor of the Harford County administration building at 220 S. Main St.

Members of the public can make comments once the plans are presented and committee members have made their comments.

The land is zoned for agricultural use, and five single-family houses are planned to be built on the lots.

Chris Demetrakis, the club president, said Monday there will be easements between the residential properties and the golf areas.

"They'll be behind play more than anything else," he said of the houses.

Operators of the golf club plan to remove the buildings and sell the property to raise revenue for capital improvements at the club and debt service payments.

Demetrakis said the buildings have not been taken down yet; they will be removed once the county has approved the project.

"As soon as everything's approved and put through, that will be the initiating step to start demolition," he said.

Demetrakis said the timeline for the project depends on the county approval process.

"It all depends on the county and the builder," he said.

With only five lots, the developers have not held a community input meeting or submitted a concept plan, which is required for larger projects.

Moe Davenport, chief of development review for the county Department of Planning and Zoning and chairman of DAC, said Monday a community input meeting is required if a project will generate an average of at least 250 trips a day, and a concept plan is required with at least 500 average daily trips.

"You have to have a larger-scale development to trigger a concept plan," Davenport explained.

He also said the houses will be served by private wells and septic systems.

Demetrakis said percolation tests have been performed for septic service, and that "the wells shouldn't be a problem to drill."

The Gorsuch House, which had been used by the club as a pro shop, clubhouse and later a residence for the course superintendent, needs major repairs.

It was listed on the Maryland Historical Trust's Inventory of Historic Properties, which cannot save the structure from demolition; the register serves as an inventory of historic properties in Maryland.

"The inventory is simply a source, a way to maintain a record of Maryland's architectural, archaeological and cultural resources," Ivy Freitag, a preservation planner with Planning and Zoning, stated in an e-mail in April.

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