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The Town of Bel Air plans to sell a small parcel of land located toward the rear and east of the former Kunkel Service Co. building on Baltimore Pike, whose renovation into a retail center is nearing completion. The building's owner will pay $60,000 for the 0.14-acre parcel that also borders Bel Air High School.
The Town of Bel Air plans to sell a small parcel of land located toward the rear and east of the former Kunkel Service Co. building on Baltimore Pike, whose renovation into a retail center is nearing completion. The building's owner will pay $60,000 for the 0.14-acre parcel that also borders Bel Air High School. (Allan Vought/The Aegis)

The Town of Bel Air plans to sell a small parcel of property along Baltimore Pike to the developer of the adjoining former Kunkel Service Co. site.

A resolution was introduced at Monday's town meeting to declare the 0.14-acre property at 331 Baltimore Pike surplus. A public hearing on the resolution is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 at Town Hall.

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In accordance with state law, the resolution provides 20 days notice of the town's intent to sell the property.

Once the Board of Town Commissioners approves the resolution, the town government has a contract of sale pending with 331 Bel Air LLC, which owns the adjacent 2.1 acres on which the 32,000 square foot former Kunkel building is being renovated into a retail center.

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Coverage of ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for Maryland American water impoundment south of Bel Air

The work on the building is nearing completion, and the owner has been seeking tenants through a commercial realty firm, JLL. A representative of the firm said last fall that 6,000 to 10,000 square feet on the building's Baltimore Pike side would be marketed to traditional small retailers, while the east side of the building will be "flex retail space."

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 occurring on the latter date, unless the balance owed is paid earlier, according to the pending contract of sale.

The retangular, town-owned property, which is along the east side and toward the back of the 331 Bel Air LLC property was used by the building's prior owners for access and parking and has been owned by the town since 1934, according to state property records. The town also has a 15-foot wide perpetual easement running along the east side of the 331 Bel Air LLC property to access the parcel.

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Town Administrator Jesse Bane said the town's property, which borders the Bel Air High School property, was at one time used for a sewage pumping station that is no longer there. Town sewer lines still run under it, however.

It will be at least three years before a reservoir will be completed to relieve the Bel Air area's chronic water supply concerns, a delay that could hinder – at least temporarily – any major development projects planned within the county seat or on its outskirts.

Bane and Charles Keenan, the town attorney, said a search of town records did not find anything in writing between the town and the Kunkel company regarding the latter's use of the property for parking for the better part of six decades. The Kunkel building, which had a retail auto parts store, machine shop and warehouse, was erected in 1954.

The company, founded in Bel Air in 1921, later became part of a national auto parts aftermarket chain, Auto Plus, and moved from the Baltimore Pike location to Forest Hill last October. According to state property tax records, 331 Bel Air LLC acquired the property for $2,488,000 in November 2015.

"There must have been a handshake agreement or something," Bane said of the prior relationship between the town and Kunkel regarding the town's property.

Both town officials said the buyer would be using the parcel for parking and access to new storefronts along the east side of the building.

"There are sewer lines running under it, so you couldn't build on it," Keenan said.

"It's really too small and inconveniently located for any public use," Michael Krantz, the town director of administration, said as he introduced the resolution approving the sale to the Town Board.

Krantz said 331 Bel Air LLC can benefit from owning the property, however, and "it will have a positive impact on the economy of the town."



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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