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Parking will be free for a limited time in the Town of Bel Air during the upcoming holiday season.

Visitors can park in the parking garage for free from Nov. 25, a Monday, through New Year’s Eve and on Main Street in downtown for free from Dec. 16 through Christmas day.

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“It’s customary to provide free parking in the parking garage and on Main Street to facilitate and encourage more citizens to patronize downtown Bel Air businesses, shops and restaurants during the holiday season,” Director of Administration Michael Krantz said.

The commissioners voted 4-0 Monday — Commissioner Brendan Hopkins was absent — to repeal the dates of free parking that were approved at the last meeting, shortening the duration of free parking on Main Street. The original resolution included free parking on Main from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31.

Krantz said last month that the reason to shorten the number of days for free parking on Main Street is that the town didn’t want downtown business employees parking all day on Main when the idea is to encourage people to come to town.

Treating tree roots in Homestead Village

The town will treat tree roots intruding into the sewer system this year in the Homestead Village neighborhood of the town.

“Tree root intrusion into sewer lines causes backups and damage to sewer lines,” Director of Public Works Stephen Kline said. “Cutting roots can damage the lines and roots can grow back.”

Under a contract commissioners voted to award to Duke’s Root Control Inc. of Syracuse, N.Y., a chemical agent will be used to control the intrusion into the sewer lines.

“Treatment is done on a rotating basis in neighborhoods prone to tree root intrusion, rotating every three years,” Kline said.

The town will treat 18,200 feet of 8-inch line and 2,120 feet of 10-inch line this time, he said.

Commissioner Patrick Richards thanked the public works department for taking a proactive approach to treating the tree roots, which he said “saves long-term capital and saves disruption to town citizens. We appreciate it.”

Kline said the town didn’t have a program such as this when he began working in Bel Air 20 years ago, and it wasn’t unusual for him to get a call in the middle of the night about a sewer line break or backup.

“The program works really well,” he said.

Fee changes, appointments

The commissioners approved changes to its fees for temporary use and occupancy permits and sewer line locator fees.

Rather than fees of $30, $50 and $100 for a temporary use and occupancy permit, the town will charge $200 for the permit, which is valid for 30 days. A temporary permit can be extended for up to 120 days at a cost of $200 every 30 days.

“The fee was insufficient and not covering the time put into issuing this certificate,” Krantz said.

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The town also added a $15 per inspection fee for relocating a sewer line, which will be added to the cost of $45 per inspection to locate a sewer line, Krantz said.

Susan Niewenhouse and Christa Egerland were reappointed to the Bel Air Appearance and Beautification Committee and Steve Lober was reappointed to the Historic Preservation Committee.

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