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Havre de Grace exchanges properties with developer who plans to build six townhouses

Havre de Grace exchanges properties with developer who plans to build six townhouses
The Havre de Grace City Council approved resolutions at its meeting Jan. 2 to declare surplus a 150-by-25-foot parcel on Young Street that is a drainage, utilities, access site and to transfer it to Alliance Street Partnership, so the developer can build additional townhouses. (Record file)

In exchange for a small drainage ditch that will allow a developer to build six townhouses instead of four, the city of Havre de Grace will obtain two smaller parcels and a commitment to help build a “Welcome to Havre de Grace” sign.

The council unanimously approved two resolutions at its meeting Jan. 2 to declare surplus a 150-by-25-foot parcel on Young Street that is a drainage, utilities, access site with space for parking and to transfer it to Alliance Street Partnership.

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With the property, the developer will get to build two more townhouses, while the city will retain use of the property, obtain two other properties in the city and has a commitment from the developers to help build a gateway sign.

“This is a win-win for the city,” Council President Dave Glenn said after explaining the resolutions the council would be voting on.

The partnership plans to demolish the existing house on the property and build townhouses, but needs additional land to meet the minimum square footage requirements to build six, according to an explanation of the resolutions provided by the city.

Three will front on Concord Street, with garage parking accessible from a common driveway to the rear. The other three will face Young Street and will use the driveway to the rear.

As conditions of the transfer of the property, the owners of the partnership will maintain a non-exclusive easement for public parking on the property being deemed surplus, which has never been used by the city, according to the explanation.

Residents will not “lose” anything that is useful in transferring the property because they will still have use of it in terms of parking, city officials said.

It is a good use of the land for infill development in Havre de Grace in that it builds confidence in the market to spur investment in the city, according to city officials, who say infill construction is desired because in most cases, city services are already available and ready to be connected.

“Infill generally does not place any strain on infrastructure or services,” according to the city.

An affiliated partnership (A&M Properties – Allen Fair and Mary Lynn Snyder) also will deed to the city two properties at no cost. One is a 5,000-square-foot unimproved lot in the North Park area of the city adjacent to McLhinney Park.

The other is two small triangular pieces at the corner of Juniata Streets, where the “Welcome to Havre de Grace” sign will be erected. The partnership will also contribute up to $5,000 in labor and materials to help build the gateway sign.

“I talked to people who live in the area, and the property has not been very well-maintained,” Council member Casi Tomarchio said. “They’ve had to pick up debris and cut the grass.”

She said neighbors support the project.

With the addition of five new units (the six being built minus the existing house), the city’s Fund 9 will receive $86,000 in new connection fees (five homes at $17,200 each).

The fund will receive revenue from water use estimated at $3,000 a year.

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The house on the site, a 1980s era home assessed at $143,000, will be replaced with six “very desirable units” with a water view in “one of the most beautiful areas of the city,” according to the developers.

The annual property tax revenue on the six townhouses is estimated to be $8,640, based on information released by the city.

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