Zoning variance rejected for church that wants to buy Giovanni's property

Giovanni's restaurant in Edgewood seems likely to stay put for a while, after the Harford County Council upheld a zoning decision Tuesday denying a setback variance for a church that wants to buy the restaurant property on Route 40.

Councilman Dion Guthrie, who represents the district, said after consulting attorneys and others, the church's request does not meet the qualification of uniqueness for a setback variance.

He said he understands it is confusing to residents when different setbacks require different modifications for a restaurant as compared to a church, and perhaps that is something "we got to take another look at."

The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Tabernacle of Praise, made the owners of Giovanni's, at 2101 Pulaski Highway, an offer to buy the restaurant so the church could expand into its facility, John Martino, of Giovanni's, said earlier.

New bills, landfill changes

The council introduced bills that would eliminate maximum lengths for panhandle lots, which are allowed to be 700 feet long at most.

Other new bills would make changes in permit license service fees and upgrade the plumbing standard code.

Public hearings that drew no speakers were held on several bills, including one to slightly change the fee classifications for those dropping off items at Scarboro Landfill. County recycling manager Robert Ernst said the different fees for dropping off items as an individual as compared to a business sometimes hit a snag when people use company vehicles to drop off personal items.

Only a few landfill users each month have that problem, he noted. He said the bill would charge any resident a flat fee, regardless of whether they use their own vehicle or a business one.

The fee for vehicles that have to be weighed on the scale would also drop to a minimum of $7 instead of $10. The classification of vans will also be expanded to differentiate between cargo and passenger vans.

The changes are expected to make drop-off less confusing, he said.

Lyme disease awareness

Also at the meeting, Council President Billy Boniface passed along information on Harford Lyme Advocates, a newly-formed Harford County chapter of the National Capital Lyme Association, which will have a meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Bel Air library with guest speaker Nancy Fox.

He also said a new MPT show called "Maryland Farm and Harvest" will air Tuesdays at 7 p.m., adding: "I encourage you to take a look, because being a farmer can be tough."

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