Fallston residents concerned with increased traffic if proposed development is approved

The biggest concerns Fallston residents have about a proposed development for their area is the increased traffic expected along Harford Road, an area one resident said is already "horrendous."

A community input meeting was held at the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company Tuesday evening for local residents to ask questions, offer suggestions and voice issues with the Hamilton Reserve development which, if approved, will be on Harford Road between Connolly Road and Route 152.

Morris and Ritchie Associates engineer Amy DiPietro gave a brief presentation at the start of the meeting on the project that includes 28.5 acres, split zoned land between commercial and residential property.

On the residential side, 69 single-family homes are proposed and, if approved, will put the commercial portion of the property in a conservation easement to be protected, according to DiPietro.

Several residents attended the meeting, including Sue and Gerald Wolcott, who own a home on Harford Road. Sue Wolcott asked representatives, including developer Josh Dresher and his lawyer Joseph Snee, what the impact would be on local traffic.

A traffic impact analysis is being done, DiPietro said, and it will be reviewed by the State Highway Administration and Harford County. Upon further questioning, DiPietro added that road improvements, if necessary, would be paid for by the developer.

Another resident, Patti Brazier, added her own concerns, saying the traffic is "horrendous."

"It just can't take any more," she said.

As for any possibility for the widening of Harford Road, Snee said those decisions would come from State Highway Administration.

The proposed development has one entrance and exit, both on Harford Road, which several residents are concerned about. Frank Carter suggested that there be an access point out to Eutaw Road through Westgrove Avenue, but DiPietro pointed out that Westgrove Avenue is private and the developer does not have a right to the property.

Michele Sauers and her mother, Virginia Sauers, own a property directly adjacent to the proposed development and brought up many potential issues, including the possibility of more taxes as a result of increased property values.

Snee recommended that residents talk to the Department of Assessments and Taxation for estimates regarding property taxes in that area.

The Sauers also asked who would be liable if something happened to their well as a result of the builder digging to extend public water and sewer lines into the development.

To that, Snee said he didn't think there would be any problems with nearby wells, but if there were, it wouldn't be the developer's responsibility. Other residents are concerned about being forced to hook in to public water and sewer, but Snee said he had never heard of people being forced to do so except in situations where the health department requires it.

Other concerns included overcrowding at Youth's Benefit Elementary School as well as Fallston Middle and High schools, which all together are under 105 percent capacity. Students in the community could attend those schools.

Once they surpass 105 percent, resident Morita Bruce said development in Fallston would be placed under a moratorium, but that would not affect this particular project if it has already been approved.

Another resident, Patti Dallam, said she resented that they were dropping an "incredible blob" of houses on to people like the Sauers and nearby properties without any consideration for them.

"I think that's a dreadful thing to do to your neighbors," she said.

Following the community input meeting, DiPietro said the next plan would be presenting the density and concept at a Harford County DAC meeting, which is open to the public.

After that, the results of the traffic study and other issues will be brought up at a second DAC meeting, when they ask for preliminary plan approval, DiPietro said.

Residents at the meeting asked DiPietro and the developer, Dresher, to notify them of the upcoming DAC meetings so they could continue to provide input on the proposed development.

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