Bel Air commissioners approve development regulations, fee amendment

Bel Air town commissioners approved a development regulations amendment and fee schedule amendment during their business meeting Tuesday evening.

The development regulations amendment was approved with one modification: to delete the section that would have reduced required off-street parking spaces from 2.5 to 2 spaces in B2A zones in the town.

This zone encompasses parts of South Main Street, Hickory Avenue and Hays Street, Commissioner David Carey said. Requiring 2.5 spaces, though it may seem a lot, he added, "works pretty well" in town.

The rest of the amendment was approved as proposed, including a section which allows group homes in residential areas, if they host no more than eight people in the residence. Another section of the amendment expands the setback for a building from the edge of a curb to 26 feet or no less than 10 feet from the right-of-way, whichever is less.

The approved fee amendment allows the town to impose a $30 per household, per year administrative fee for every stormwater management project's maintenance that the town takes on from private developments and homeowners associations.

This fee is necessary so taxpayers do not bear the burden of the town helping private property owners manage stormwater ponds that are required by law in those communities, according to town Finance Director Lisa Moody.

The town commissioners also approved an addendum to the town's sewer service agreement with Harford County, as the county proposed an increase in the sewer use charge. The previous bulk rate for the use of the sewer treatment was facilities was $2.42 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated, according to Public Works Director Randolph Robertson.

The new rate is now $2.55 per 1,000 gallons. The BNR rate was also approved but stayed the same as last year, at 16 cents per 1,000 gallons, Robertson added.

The mid-year budget was also received and will be up for a public hearing at the next meeting before commissioners vote on it. The total budget amendment is $1.5 million, Moody said, but also includes the $1.3 million purchase and demolition of the former Branch Banking and Trust building on South Main Street.

Without those expenses, the amendment comes to $264,219, which is on target with previous changes, Moody said. Much of the increased revenues, which include grants, also have a corresponding spending increases, she added.

Other business

The town commissioners recognized Bel Air Police Det. Bradley J. Helm Jr. for his work on the 2010 American Legion murder trial, which ended late last year when Rakim Raid Muhammad, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The commissioners appointed Brian Payne to a three-year term on the Historic Preservation Committee.

The next meeting is Monday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

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