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Harford County Council approves waiver on development of Seibert-Adams properties in Aberdeen, allows rezoning

The Harford County Council approved an ordinance allowing rezoning of the Seibert and Adams' properties, which the city of Aberdeen annexed in 2019, and waived the waiting period on development, possibly opening the door for the development of 170 homes in the area.

Maryland law requires a five-year waiting period for development of an annexed property if the proposed development is substantially different from what is permitted under its pre-annexation zoning classification.

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The Seibert and Adams properties along Gilbert Road were both zoned for agricultural uses in the county, but Aberdeen changed their zonings to integrated business district upon their annexation, allowing for “residential, recreational, educational, retail, entertainment, and other commercial uses,” according to the city’s code.

The legislation, introduced by Councilman Chad Shrodes, waived that five-year waiting period on development and allowed the properties' rezoning to Aberdeen’s code. Even though the property had been annexed into Aberdeen city limits, only the county council has the authority to override the waiting period.

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At a Tuesday meeting of the council, Shrodes praised the citizens' and developer’s cooperation. Before, the developer wanted to put more homes and apartments on the annexed land but revised the idea after hearing input from citizens.

The development process can be acrimonious, Shrodes said, but area residents and the developer reached a compromise.

“It was, I think, historic how everyone came together and worked, especially the residents working with developers, which I have never seen in my life,” he said.

According to a September letter addressed to Aberdeen’s City Manager Randy Robertson, the property’s potential developer Gil Horwitz said he had plans for 78 single-family homes and 92 villas in the area.

What Horwitz settled on was vastly different from his original plan for the area, which would have included 350 apartment and townhouse rental units, 49 single-family homes and 56 villas.

At an earlier meeting of the council, Joseph F. Snee Jr., the attorney for the developer, said the annexation was pursued so the land could benefit from Aberdeen’s water and sewer services, along with its zoning classification as part of the city. He said Aberdeen was in need of more varied housing options.

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