More housing proposed for Fallston area

A developer is seeking Harford County approval to subdivide a rural Fallston lot, part of a larger collection of lots off Route 152 (Fallston Road) already approved for housing.

The five-lot parcel is between Engle Road and Kings Arms Drive, pasture that Kings Arms Drive resident Michael Martino is working to sell for residential development. MGM Farms LLC of Fallston is listed as the developer.

The preliminary plan presented to the members of the county's Development Advisory Committee Wednesday calls for subdividing the fifth lot, which is 18.17 acres.

Lou Schaffer of Frederick Ward Associates of Bel Air told Committee members Wednesday the developer plans to create five additional lots on the fifth lot, creating six sub-lots of two to five acres each for single-family homes.

One house has already been built on Lot 5, and houses are approved for Lots 1 through 4, but no structures have been built yet.

The property could also be in the path of a proposed Columbia Gas natural gas transmission pipeline. Martino and his neighbors in the Kings Arms Drive and Hess Road areas have spoken out against the pipeline, citing dangers to the environment and public safety.

A public hearing was held at Fallston High School in late May. Columbia officials are seeking various permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers to build the 21.1-mile pipeline, which would be roughly parallel to its existing line between Baltimore and Harford counties.

Several people who live around the area in question expressed concerns at Wednesday's DAC meeting about how the pipeline would affect the properties.

Schaffer said the developer has not yet determined if he will grant an easement for the pipeline if it is approved by regulators.

"If my client is willing to give them the easement, it will essentially follow along the panhandle drive," he said, indicating a residential drive off Route 152, designed to resemble a panhandle and running between the five proposed sub-lots.

Any homes built on the lots would be served by wells and septic systems; John Resline of the Harford County Health Department presented comments from Frederic Faulkner, program manager with the department's Bureau of Environmental Health, regarding the wells and septic.

"The plan, as presented, cannot be approved by the Health Department at this time," Faulkner wrote.

The health official noted "satisfactory" soil tests had been performed on the property in 1993 and 2008, but more testing will be required for Lots 7, 8 and 9 "to better define the septic reserve areas."

Any new wells for the lots must also be "sampled and analyzed for full range of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), including MTBE, TAME and TBA," chemicals often used as fuel additives.

Faulkner wrote that the tests for the compounds, along with other requirements for demolishing existing structures and those related to the wells and septic, must be completed before final approval for the plans is granted by Harford County.

Nearly an acre of the property is in the county's Natural Resource District, and Schaffer said a gravel wetland will be built adjacent to the existing wetlands to direct stormwater to a nearby stream; facilities will also be built to direct stormwater away from Route 152.

First homes for Hamilton Reserve Two

Amy DiPietro, associate with Morris & Ritchie Associates Inc. of Abingdon, presented a preliminary plan to build 16 single-family homes on 6.45 acres off Route 147 (Harford Road) between Route 152 (Fallston Road) and Connolly Road in the Fallston area.

The homes on the 16 lots are the first proposed for the Hamilton Reserve Two subdivision. DiPietro noted the plans for the first Hamilton Reserve subdivision will be adjusted from 71 lots to 61 lots.

"We're making the lots bigger for a larger home," she told The Aegis after Wednesday's meeting.

Rich Zeller, who represents the State Highway Administration on the Development Advisory Committee, said during the presentation that the developer must provide an updated traffic impact study to determine "what impact this development will have on the surrounding road network."

Members of the public who live nearby expressed concerns about additional traffic on Harford Road, and privacy as the existing vegetation will be removed and plantings approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment and Harford County will be put in its place for a vegetated buffer.

Committee Chairman Moe Davenport told audience members the Hamilton Reserve plans will not have to be reviewed again by the committee because the number of lots is being decreased; the plans would have to be re-submitted if the lots were increased, however.

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