Gilbert Road is a narrow, winding road that already handles a lot of traffic, especially during baseball season, and it will only get worse if as many as 400 residential units are built in Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen City Council is considering an annexation request of about 80 acres on Gilbert Road which, if approved, would be zoned for integrated business district, which permits residential, commercial and institutional uses. It could vote on the annexation at its next meeting, Feb. 11.
The developer, Peter Bosworth, is planning only residential development with single-family homes, villas and apartments, according to Joseph Snee, the lawyer handling the annexation.
If the city approves the annexation, it would have to request a waiver from the county for the integrated business district zoning, which is not compatible with the county’s agricultural zoning. If the county does not approve the waiver, the properties can’t be developed for five years.
“My major concern is the number of units involved with coming in a very rural community of basically single-family homes,” John Kiesel of Randolph Drive told the Aberdeen council members during an annexation hearing Jan. 14.
He has lived in the area for 42 years.
The neighborhood will be built behind homes in the county, not within city limits, along Gilbert Road, according to the plan, which concerns some residents along the road.
Teanna Ringgold of Gilbert Road said many people in the area have a “vested interest” in the community and have lived there for 40, 50 even 60 years.
“We love this city, too. We like living in Aberdeen, but living outside the city limits doesn’t mean we don’t care about Aberdeen,” Ringgold said. “We want the city to care about us.”
They want growth in the area to be beneficial to what’s already there, and apartments are not it, she said.
As a county road, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for patrolling the road, which sees a lot of speeders, especially during summer evenings when the IronBirds are playing.
Once the property is annexed, will Aberdeen Police Department patrol the road or will the Sheriff’s Office continue to do that, Gilbert Road resident Robert Keene asked.
“People are really rolling through there to get home” after IronBirds games, taking back roads instead of going out to Route 22. All that traffic, he said, creates a lot of noise.
Gilbert Road is not a major thoroughfare, residents said.
“If you’ve been on Gilbert Road, you know how rural that road is,” Keisel said. “It not only is gravel and tar as a basis, which does not sustain a lot of traffic. It has [an] S turn going up a hill. Adding the number of homes you’re talking about...”
He suggested council members go there and think about the number of homes that will be added.
The two parcels to be annexed are the 41.4-acre Siebert Farm and the 38.9-acre Adams property.
Planned for the property are 49 single-family homes on the north side, 56 villas in the middle and 322 apartments in seven buildings on the south side of the parcel, as well as a 6,700-square-foot clubhouse with a pool, trail system and dog park.
The neighborhood would have two access points onto Gilbert Road.
Those access points concern Wendy Jones, who lives on Gilbert Road. One of those drives is planned around her property and she told the council she is worried because she has two small children.
None of the houses proposed in the development are on Gilbert Road.
“They’re essentially putting a whole development behind established homes,” Jones said.
A “massive” pothole is already forming on Gilbert Road because of the trucks using the road to get to the construction project at Route 22 and Interstate 95 and it will get worse with more traffic.
Students from the development would go to Bakerfield Elementary, at 81 percent capacity, Aberdeen Middle, 78 percent, and Aberdeen High, 88 percent, “well under the threshold of a moratorium,” Snee said.
Paul Findeisen, who lives on Loxley Manor Drive outside Aberdeen city limits, is concerned about the effects of the development, primarily on wildlife, but also on the future of the area.
“You’re going to put a scar on the community that will be there well past your lifetime and many, many things will be the result from it,” Findeisen said.