Aldi supermarket and the Fieldside Village apartments are both moving forward in Aberdeen after the city council unanimously approved preliminary site plans for the projects Monday night.
Fieldside Village, the only piece of a once-larger project adjacent to Ripken Stadium to actually be moving forward, was back before the council with a revised site plan for the project of seven high-end rental apartment buildings, featuring 89 detached garages, a 5,000-square-foot community center and other amenities.
Aldi supermarket, meanwhile, will be building its second store in Harford County, across from Walmart on Route 40.
Council members unanimously approved both projects with minimal questions about aesthetic issues, landscaping and, in the case of Fieldside Village, clarifying that the apartments would be "upscale."
Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck, however, recused herself from voting on the Fieldside Village plan, citing "family interest" in the property.
Two people spoke against the annexation of 830 Gilbert Road during a public hearing on a charter resolution to approve the annexation.
Robert Price, of Gilbert Road, told the council he was "very, very much against it."
"You guys have heard all the arguments. I think in the end you have to decide, are you going to have a perspective that agrees with your referendum that you had in 2006?" he said. "Or do you believe you have a perspective that you know better and you can do what you want?"
Karen Heavey, a planning commission member, also said again she is opposed both to this annexation and to annexation in general, at least any time soon.
She said she is concerned about the far side of I-95, as nothing has "gone as planned" there except Ripken Stadium.
"The city's doing pretty good with what it has," Heavey said. "There are no guarantees in life. We might think we are annexing in for R1 [residential] but as has been shown in the past, things change."
Chickens and ducks
The city's ban on keeping and raising poultry came up at the meeting again, as Frank Turner, of Chesapake Court, told the council he was "disappointed" by the lack of leadership and environmental stewardship.
He thanked the councilmembers for allowing him to keep his 16 chickens while the issue was being discussed but he found out the law would not be changed and he would have to get rid of them.
Turner said he originally offered a proposed change for the law, but he will comply with the order to remove the chickens.
"Nothing will change other than my family's loss of eggs and pets," he said, noting the birds are quieter than many of his neighbors' stereos.
Blane Miller, also of Chesapeake Court, said he has two ducks on his property and was similarly affected by the law.
Miller also said he e-mailed all the councilmembers at least three times and left a message with the city office but has received no response.
"All of you don't respond to your e-mails," he said, adding he was wondering why the ducks are not allowed, as he uses them in his garden and has a "nice place" for them.
"One thing that disheartens me most of all of all the problems in this town, … on my court, you'll see broken down cars, four-wheelers flying down the road, and nothing's ever done," he said. "I have two ducks in my yard and had to come home from work tonight and discuss this with you."
Miller said the city should make some effort to work with residents instead of just laying down the law.
"The only thing I've gotten is a letter saying 'get rid of your ducks,'" he said.
The council did not reply to those concerns during the meeting.
Afterward, Mayor Mike Bennett said the law on poultry has been on the books for a long time and originally went into effect because of complaints from residents.
Bennett said the city could consider changing the law, but would have to put in strict guidelines for owning those types of pets.
"I wouldn't want to live next to a chicken farm," he said.
Also at the meeting, the council approved resolutions supporting the Harford Family House project and the Inner County Outreach project, as well as an ordinance on unsafe buildings that will allow the administration to demolish three properties in the city.