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Havre de Grace council clears way for development of 244-acre Green-Ianniello-Patrone tract off Rt. 155

Those who want to develop within a more than 244-acre tract on the north side of Havre de Grace off of Route 155, cleared a major hurdle Monday when the City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the “single concept plan” for residential and commercial projects on the Green-Ianniello-Patrone property.

“This is something our planning department has been working very diligently on for quite a while,” said Councilman James Ringsaker, who introduced Resolution 2020-16.

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The city annexed the full tract, which is bounded by Route 155, Bulle Rock Parkway and the Scenic Manor community, in 2014. It is zoned RB, or residential business. The owners of the Green, Ianniello and Patrone properties, as well as those who want to purchase and develop parts of the tract, have been working with city staff and negotiating with each other over the past six years.

They have been working to come up with a concept plan on which they can agree and satisfies multiple development conditions laid out in Annexation Resolution 277, adopted by the City Council in April of 2014.

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Those conditions, in addition to creating a single concept plan for development, include preserving a quarter of the acreage for open space use, dividing the remaining land into thirds for residential and business uses — one-third goes to one use and two-thirds goes to the other — reserving 5 acres that will be developed as a public city park, extending the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail through the tract, and creating a public road network through the developments that can be accessed from the current end of Scenic Manor Drive, allowing motorists to drive through the development and connect to other public roads.

The conditions for development, and whether all property owners and developers have met them, were the subject of extensive discussion during the council’s July 20 meeting.

Shane Grimm, the city’s director of planning, told council members that city staff and property owners have engaged in discussions during recent months and worked “to come to an agreement on what was a plan that could be supported by the department of planning and administration, and that is the plan that you have before you.”

Grimm said the concept plan had been submitted to the city in mid-March, and staff determined it met the requirements of the 2014 annexation resolution and provisions of Havre de Grace’s comprehensive plan for growth and development in the city.

“I think it’s very important, that when we review projects like this, we make sure we relate it back to our comprehensive plan and those things that were established in there as we review new development,” Grimm said.

The planning director also noted how he and city staff have “engaged in very good conversations” about the concept plan with residents of the neighboring Scenic Manor subdivision and that residents with whom he has talked have been “nothing but respectful and very good to deal with.”

Don Sample, a Bel Air developer and contract purchaser of 40 acres owned by the Green family, said the Greens have met “100%” of the requirements in the annexation resolution and encouraged council members to introduce a resolution allowing development to proceed “without further revision” of the concept plan.

Peter Ianniello, whose family operates the Mount Felix winery on the Ianniello-owned acreage and plans to build a senior living community on the tract, urged the council to allow more time to finalize the concept plan. Then, all parties could work out issues related to land use, developing the road network, creating the public park and other matters.

“I don’t see an agreed-upon plan,” Council President David Glenn noted. “I see some concerns being elevated that haven’t really been resolved.”

Glenn, who stressed that he wants the development to be “a win-win for all concerned,” suggested having more discussions among city officials and various stakeholders to come up with a resolution.

Council members decided to have a work session July 27. The council heard from City Attorney April Ishak, as well as Grimm, during that session. Many of the details about road networks, traffic and other issues can be worked out as more detailed site plans are submitted to city agencies, the Board of Appeals and Planning Commission, council members noted during the work session.

The council agreed that the staff report should be revised, and upon reviewing those revisions and the concept plan, the body determined that the conditions in the 2014 annexation resolution had been met and “the parties now have a path forward to develop their respective properties,” according to the resolution passed Monday.

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