The Harford County Council introduced three bills Tuesday at its first meeting since taking a summer recess in June. The bills focused on warehousing, apartments and term limits for council members.
County Council President Patrick Vincenti assured the citizens in attendance that the council has “been working every day on your behalf” over the summer.
The warehousing bill adds definitions of the terms “distribution and local delivery center,” “freight terminal” and “warehousing” to the county code. It also limits the size of new warehouses to be no larger than 250,000 square feet.
The maximum square footage of newly constructed warehouses differed in two drafts of the bill, one from Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly and the other from District F council member Jacob Bennett. At a town hall meeting held last week by the 3P Protect Perryman Peninsula coalition, Bennett’s version of the bill listed 250,000 square feet as the maximum space while Cassilly’s was listed as 1 million square feet.
“Our citizens have made it clear that they do not want unrestrained growth,” Cassilly said Wednesday in a news release. “This update to our development regulations clarifies ambiguous language in existing law, adds conditions for responsible development and is, frankly, long overdue.
“My administration’s goal is to fairly balance the rights of property owners with the interests of citizens who live and work in the surrounding community.”
Bennett told The Aegis: “There will still be work to be done in the coming weeks to amend the legislation, but I feel we are in a much better place than we were a week ago at the Perryman town hall.”
The Perryman citizen coalition has long advocated for further county legislation amid the proposed warehouse development on the waterfront town’s Mitchell property.
“It’s encouraging to see Harford County taking steps to modernize its zoning code,” said 3P political liaison Glenn Gillis in a prepared statement. “We look forward to a thorough analysis to ensure it aligns with our mission to protect the environment and improve quality of life.”
A public hearing for the bill will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2.
The Morning Sun
The council also introduced a bill that would modify the county zoning code to no longer allow garden, mid-rise and high-rise apartments in the county’s general business district zoning “unless appropriately integrated into a plan for mixed-use development,” according to the bill’s text.
A previous version of this bill failed to pass a vote by the Harford County Council in June.
A public hearing for this bill also will be held on Oct. 2.
The third bill introduced by the council would enact term limits for Harford County Council members, restricting someone to running for no more than three consecutive terms as a council member and three consecutive terms as council president.
A previous version of this bill was introduced earlier this year but later withdrawn.
This bill will also have its public hearing on Oct. 2.