The Aberdeen City Council will host a public hearing Monday on the proposed annexation of the Wetlands Golf Course into the city limits.
The property, about 206 acres of land along Gilbert Road, would be brought into the city if annexation is approved. The city is inviting public comment on the possible annexation at its June 21 meeting. The land is owned by Locksley Manor, Inc.
The annexation resolution was introduced at the May council meeting, and Monday’s public hearing is the next step in the process, which began in the fall. Typically, the council does not vote on resolutions or legislation at the same meeting as the public hearing.
Water and sewer mains do not currently exist or any portion of the land. Should the annexation be approved, Aberdeen would provide access to both its water and sewer system to the land, according to the resolution.
According to the legislation, the majority of the land — three of the four parcels — would be zoned as integrated business district, which allows for residential, commercial, recreational and other uses. A fourth parcel that’s about 15.8 acres would be zoned for low-density residential, permitting homes, schools, churches and other uses.
Maryland law prohibits properties being developed for “substantially different” uses for five years after annexation, according to the legislation. When the resolution was introduced May 25, the attorney representing the project said those limits on substantially different uses within the first five years of annexation can be voided with the approval of the Harford County Council.
“From our perspective, we have been working on this for about 16 years,” Locksley Manor attorney Bradley Stover said.
Mayor Patrick McGrady said the developer had not “expressed any kind of intention for development.” Stover did not respond to questions in time for the publication of this article.
McGrady said the annexation — if approved and developed — would be subject to Aberdeen’s revised adequate public facilities ordinance, which the council adopted at its June 7 meeting.
The revised ordinance requires developers to consider the water and sewer capacity of the surrounding area and pay a share of improvements to the services’ infrastructure proportional to what they use.
At a May 10 meeting of the council, McGrady explained that the previous adequate public facilities code allowed developers a free ride on infrastructural improvements paid for by a developer that came before them.
Under the old code, when developers approached the city with projects, they had to prove the surrounding area’s utilities and services could handle the added strain of their proposed development or pay the city to expand its infrastructure in order for the development to be approved.
The first developer seeking to build in an area without adequate infrastructure had to foot the bill for the necessary improvements. Other developers could then come in with their own projects, piggybacking on the expanded utilities without paying for them.
Under the new agreement, developers are charged proportionally to the expected capacity they will use. According to the resolution, the owners of the Locksley Manor property would pay the city $599,000.