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Higher rental rates for Bel Air Armory approved along with new town 'booting' fee

Bel Air town officials have approved a new round of higher rental rates for the popular Bel Air Armory.
Bel Air town officials have approved a new round of higher rental rates for the popular Bel Air Armory. (Nicole Munchel/BSMG)

Higher rental rates for the popular Armory, along with a new $100 fee for vehicles "booted" for unpaid parking tickets, were approved by the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners.

Both proposals passed unanimously during Tuesday evening's town meeting, where the commissioners also approved a resolution declaring surplus a small parcel of town-owned property, in preparation to selling the parcel to the developer of the former Kunkel Service Company property on Baltimore Pike.

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Prior to the votes, public hearings were held on the rental rate increase, the vehicle disabling fee and the surplus property resolution.

The new fee schedule follows continuing efforts by town officials to make the popular Armory more financially self-sustaining.

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There have been ongoing concerns among town officials that the Armory, which is in use most weekends and frequently for weekday events, costs the town more to operate and maintain than it produces in revenue.

In introducing the proposed new fee schedule last month, town Director of Administration Michael Krantz explained that some charges, such as for security and custodial services, will be left up to the town to decide on a case-by-case basis.

The base daily rental rates will increase by $100.

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Town of Bel Air is planning increases in rental rates for the popular Armory, scheduled to take effect in September.

A non-profit or government entity using the building Monday through Friday will pay $400 daily for up to eight hours; the daily rental for Friday through Sunday will be $600 each day. The rates for businesses or individuals will be $700 and $900, respectively.

For less than full-day use, the nonprofit hourly rate will be $75 for a minimum of four hours — an increase from $50, and the hourly rate for a business or individual will be $113 — an increase from $88.

Businesses and individuals that rent the Armory are eligible for a 10 percent discount if they own property within the town.

"Fees are waived for town sponsored events, non-profits holding events where at least 80 percent of the profits go to the Town of Bel Air for Town projects/facilities," the resolution approved Tuesday states.

Booting fee

Under an ordinance and accompanying resolution that were approved, the town will begin charging $100 for installing and removing an immobilization device — commonly known as a "boot" – when a vehicle is found parked on town streets or lots for which there are three unpaid parking tickets.

The ordinance states that immobilization is the "primary" means of enforcing the payment of unpaid parking tickets, with towing the "secondary" means.

Krantz said the legislation was primarily to clarify that the town has been immobilizing the vehicles of scofflaws, rather than towing them.

Legislation introduced at Monday's Bel Air town meeting will not only permit the town to "immobilize" vehicles for which there are three outstanding parking tickets, the owner also will be required to pay $100 dollars to remove the boot, in addition to any fines.

The new fee will defray the labor cost of installing and removing the booting device. In addition, town officials said last month the "boot" being used by the town is worn out and needs replacement.

Land sale

The resolution declaring surplus the 0.14-acre property at 331 Baltimore Pike also contains a 20-day notice of the town's intent to sell the property to 331 Bel Air LLC, as required by state law.

The town government already has a contract of sale pending with 331 Bel Air LLC, which owns the adjacent 2.1 acres where the former Kunkel building has been renovated into a retail center that is nearing completion.

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The selling price for the town-owned parcel is $60,000, which is less than the $100,000 appraised value of the property. Town officials said, however, that the contract of sale imposes a number of restrictions on the buyer and also provides the town with a perpetual easement.

The sale will take place in three installments: $10,000 due Jan. 1, 2018; $20,000 on June 1, 2019; and $30,000 on Dec. 15, 2020, with settlement on the latter date, unless the balance owed is paid earlier, according to the pending contract of sale.

The town doesn't need the property, Town Administrator Jesse Bane said in an earlier interview. It was acquired decades ago and was originally used for a sewage pumping station that has since been removed. There are still sewer lines running under the property, for which the town will retain its easement, Bane said.

The buyer is using the parcel for parking, which the former owner of the Kunkel Building had done as well, although under what town officials say appears to have been a "handshake agreement" of many years duration.



Harford County’s “Choose Civility” campaign kicked off with a breakfast event at the Water’s Edge Events Center in Belcamp on Wednesday.

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