A bill that would have altered Harford County's zoning code to remove barriers to developing indoor athletic facilities in agricultural areas was withdrawn from consideration by its sponsor at Tuesday night's Harford County Council session.
The legislation had been seen as facilitating a plan by Aumar Village Shopping Center developer Michael Euler's to build a fieldhouse on an agriculturally zoned part of the shopping center tract in Fallston.
Councilman Joe Woods, who represents Fallston, pulled the bill, saying he "wanted to make this as restrictive as possible" and hopes to take the summer to work more on the legislation.
The site in question, near Routes 147 (Harford Road) and 152 (Mountain Road), is zoned agricultural. Euler's plan calls for an indoor facility with an artificial turf playing surface, which Woods and others had said they don't believe is provided for in the current zoning code.
"One piece I really want, and I just believe takes a little bit more work, is it can never be in a type of residential area," Woods said.
Council President Billy Boniface agreed it was a good bill and thought it made sense to look at it more comprehensively.
Euler said Thursday he still plans to move forward with the project and believes what he is proposing can probably be done within the current law. He also said he is going to hold a public meeting next month to allow members of the community to give their views about the project, much as he did earlier when he first proposed and RV park on the site.
The property, he added, "is going to be developed."
$65 million borrowing authorized
A bond bill authorizing the county to borrow up to $65,649,940, mostly for school-related projects, was passed by the council without discussion Tuesday.
The bill includes a few amendments requiring state approval for the financing of a new Havre de Grace High School and Youth's Benefit Elementary School, as well as the Joppatowne High Systemic Project.
Projects in the bond bill include courthouse building repairs for $4.4 million, a 700 MHz wireless radio system for $13 million, Joppatowne High School renovations for $7.4 million and a Youth's Benefit replacement for $6.8 million.
A second bill allows the county to borrow up to $6 million for work on the main sewer line that parallels the Bynum Run stream from Bel Air south through Abingdon. That also passed without serious discussion.
Part of the Bynum Run sewer repairs include getting approval from 11 property owners to go through their properties, public works employee Angela Hoover explained.
The biggest impact would be on the Maryland Golf & Country Clubs, the only non-residential property with whose owner the county has to talk.
Hoover said the club wants the county to only do construction during the winter to avoid disrupting the golf season.
Only one county newspaper will be required to carry notice of county events or legislation, according to another bill passed Tuesday.
Morita Bruce, a Fallston resident, said she wanted to make sure the county requires electronic postings of events, which the council assured her it does.
Councilman Jim McMahan, who had a long career in radio, wondered if broadcast media could ever be considered, noting there are radio stations in the county.
Audit advisors sought
Harford County is looking for residents with financial know-how to sit on a new audit advisory board, approved by the county council at its Tuesday meeting.
"We are seeking interested Harford County residents with audit, accounting, financial or related management experience to serve on the Board," county auditor Chrystal Brooks wrote in an e-mail, explaining anyone interested can contact her office at 410-638-3161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bill creates a seven-member board, led by the county council president, to review the auditor's annual plan and budget before it goes to the council and make other recommendations to the council.
Besides the president, the board will feature one more council member, the county executive or his designee, four at-large members and the county auditor.
The at-large members will be residents with expertise in auditing or finance, and at least one will be a certified public accountant or certified internal auditor.
Boniface said the bill was introduced at the request of the county auditor. Responding to a question from Councilman Dion Guthrie, Brooks said it is different from a temporary auditing committee convened earlier by the council.
She said the board "eliminates some redundancy" and Boniface said he is sure the treasurer's office is "happy to relinquish some responsibility."
Aegis staff member Allan Vought contributed to this article.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun