The developers of a proposed field house, which is slated for a grassy lot in front of the Arena Club near Bel Air, must provide a wealth of information about how the project will affect area water and sewage capacity before all Harford County agencies sign off on the site plan.
"A complete evaluation of the existing [septic] drain field status and capacity will be required to determine the extent of improvements, if any, that will be required to the existing drain field," Julie Mackert, who represents the Harford County Health Department on the county's Development Advisory Committee, said during a review of the field house concept plan Wednesday morning.
The 23,650-square-foot field house is being built to provide infield training to Arena Starz Baseball players. Arena Starz is a youth sports program of The Arena Club, a health club and swimming complex off Route 22 between the Harford Community College campus and Campus Hills Shopping Center.
Mitch Ensor of Bay State Land Services Inc. of Forest Hill presented the concept plan to the DAC members.
Developers with Isgood LLC of Edgewood plan to build the facility behind the Wawa convenience store, which is at the intersection of Route 22 (East Churchville Road) and the eastern access road to the college, and connect the field house to Wawa's septic system.
Keith Rawlings, president and owner of The Arena Club, said after the meeting that each business on the overall property, which is owned by Isgood, has its own wastewater treatment system and draws water from a nearby tower that is part of the Campus Hills water system, which is supplied by wells in the area. There is no public water or sewer service available in the area.
The field house site is in front of the parking lot serving The Arena Club. A Bull on the Beach restaurant is across from the Wawa on the same overall property.
During Wednesday's DAC hearing, Mackert and Darryl Ivins of the county's Division of Water and Sewer, laid out what developers must do to quantify how much water and sewage will be required to operate the field house and what improvements must be made to the surrounding infrastructure.
Mackert told Ensor that planners must provide a "detailed design" of the sewage line connection, as well as detailed plans for the development of any additional septic drain fields that might be required.
She said the Maryland Department of the Environment will conduct a "co-review" of the plans with the Health Department, and health officials will inspect the sewage line and any additional drain fields.
The field house would share a 4.7-acre lot with the Wawa, and Ivins said water and sewer officials "would like to know the existing and future sewage generation rates for this line, because we need to know whether or not it should be included in the water and sewer master plan."
Ivins also told Ensor that developers should provide one year of water use bills from the Wawa to help determine the "existing sewage flows" from the Wawa treatment facility, and they must calculate "proposed sewage generation as a result of this field house."
Developers expect that about 22 people – two instructors and 20 players – will be using the facility each hour it is open, which would be 3 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to the concept plan.
Arena Starz baseball teams already use The Arena Club, The Arena Club Sports Academy in Churchville, Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen and HCC for training, according to the Arena Starz website.
Ensor told Ivins the proposed field house would be an improvement to the existing Churchville facility, because the field house will provide space for a "full indoor baseball diamond," and players can do double play and ground ball drills "all the way around the infield."
Ivins also requested a "preliminary count of proposed water-using fixtures in the facility" from Ensor.
"That will help verify how much water and sewage is going to be generated in that facility," he explained.
Ensor also told Ivins that a count of fixtures, such as restrooms, could be provided once an "accurate building plan" is completed.
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Ivins still requested the information from Ensor, and said he could provide it through a letter.
"I have to have something to go on before I can recommend site plan approval, something preliminary," Ivins said.
The concept plan generated fewer comments from other DAC members. Rich Zeller, who represents the State Highway Administration on the committee, said his agency is still reviewing a traffic impact analysis submitted by the developer.
"We're going to defer specific comments regarding possible road improvements until our review of that study is completed," Zeller said.
Shane Grimm of the Department of Planning and Zoning said he wanted to discuss further the submitted forest conservation plan with committee chairman Moe Davenport before commenting. Davenport was absent Wednesday, and Grimm chaired the meeting.
Members of the public can comment on plans that come before the committee, but no one from the community spoke about the field house plan.
Rawlings said later he does not expect the field house to generate a lot of excess water and sewer use, since it will not have showers, only public restrooms and water fountains.