Several planned developments in the Bel Air and Fallston areas, such as the Aumar Village subdivision, the Homes at Fountain Green apartment complex and Bel Air Overlook on the former Bel Air Auto Auction site off of Route 1, have been slated to receive Harford County water and sewer service as these projects and others continue to move through the development process.
That data is included in the updates county government officials presented to the Harford County Council on Tuesday evening during a public hearing on the fall update of the county’s Master Water and Sewer Plan resolution.
The council did not take action on the resolution Tuesday but will vote “at a future meeting,” Council President Patrick Vincenti said.
The water and sewer plan must be updated every six months, as development projects are completed and others receive approval of their plans, with the revised master plan submitted for council approval.
Water and sewer updates
The 88-unit Aumar Village, which is being helmed by Fallston developer Michael Euler Sr., is a residential development on more than 35 acres along Route 152, just north of Euler’s existing commercial development, also called Aumar Village.
Multiple people blasted the concept at a community input meeting this past spring, expressing concerns that the project, with its 27 single-family houses and 61 townhouses, could exacerbate area traffic which is already heavy.
The concept plan for Aumar Village has been approved by the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning, however. County officials want to move the project from the W-6/S-6 category, meaning it could have water and sewer service in 11 to 20 years, to W-5/S-5 status, which puts it in line for service in six to 10 years, according to Darryl Ivins, civil engineer in the Division of Water and Sewer.
The developer has submitted a preliminary plan, and officials will return to the council asking that the property be shifted into a category for “immediate” water and sewer service once the preliminary plan is approved, according to Ivins.
“This property is moving forward in the development process,” Ivins told council members.
Fallston resident Nola Hopkins, who lives on Mountain Road near the Aumar Village development, said she would support water and sewer service for the project, as nearby residents will be able to get that service, too.
Hopkins said she deals with a “failing septic" system and “atrocious” well water at her home, noting road salt can get into her water.
“Mr. Euler is willing to give us water and sewer, and that would be greatly appreciated,” she said. “It would help us a great deal.”
The Homes at Fountain Green is a 72-unit garden apartment complex planned for about 10.3 acres at Route 1 and Route 543 in the Hickory area north of Bel Air. A preliminary plan has been approved, and the project meets the criteria to move from W-5/S-5 to the W-3/S-3 category, Ivins said. The W-3/S-3 category means the property could receive water and sewer service in one to five years.
“We’re recommending that that occur,” Ivins said of the category change.
A number of people expressed opposition to the project earlier this year, including County Executive Barry Glassman, who sent a letter to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development indicating Harford County does not support it because the developer is seeking tax credits to build for mixed-income renters. Glassman stated the complex “is not consistent with our community development goals,” citing a lack of public transportation nearby and a lack of sewer capacity in the area.
Ivins gave details on two other projects in the Aberdeen-Havre de Grace area. The first involves connecting the Ashley Addiction Treatment Center to water and sewer service provided by the City of Aberdeen, and the second involves giving several nearby properties the “opportunity to connect when the sewer line is constructed to serve the Ashley” facility, Ivins said.
Completed Bel Air impoundment
County officials also want to update the master plan to reflect the completion of Maryland American Water’s 90 million-gallon water impoundment, a reservoir surrounded by an earthen dam adjacent to Maryland American’s water treatment plant off of Route 1 along the Winters Run stream south of Bel Air.
The impoundment, which went into operation this past winter, is designed to store a backup water supply for the Town of Bel Air and the surrounding areas. Maryland American, a private company, is the primary water supplier for Bel Air.
The map showing Maryland American Water’s service area in and around Bel Air is being adjusted to include the mixed-use Bel Air Overlook project being developed on the former Bel Air Auto Auction property off of Route 1. Plans call for about 200 apartment, condominium and townhouse units, all for senior citizens, and commercial and retail structures.
Maryland American will provide water to the commercial and retail sections, and Harford County will provide water to the residential section, Ivins said.
Connections increase with growth
The Morning Sun
Ivins showed data indicating developments that have been completed in the past six months, and the planned developments that will need water and sewer service in the coming years.
The number of planned residential units in the county, which have received preliminary plan approval and are in the category to receive for water and sewer service within one to five years, has increased by 63 — from 3,098 units as of the spring master plan update to 3,161 for the fall update.
The number of equivalent units in commercial zones remains the same at 64, and industrial acreage remains the same at 504.28, according to Ivins.
The engineer also pointed out how water consumption has increased in the past few years — Harford County customers consumed an average of 13.1 million gallons per day during the 2019 fiscal year, which ended June 30, and peak consumption stood at 18.4 million gallons per day, according to data presented by Ivins and included in the resolution.
Data indicate there were 45,538 water and sewer connections in fiscal 2019, an increase of 450 from the prior year, where there were 45,088 connections. Water consumption hit a peak of 13.2 million gallons per day in fiscal 2014 but decreased to 11.8 million gallons in fiscal 2018 before increasing the next year.
Ivins noted about half a dozen sewer pumping stations have seen increased flows over the past six months because of development. Five out of 50 pumping stations — Bear Cabin Branch, Foster Branch, Plumtree, Ring Factor, Tollgate Village and Woodcrest — have experienced greater flows, according to data.
“The changes are a result of development activity, and they are as to be expected,” Ivins said.