A new plan for the proposed Roberts Crossing single family house subdivision off Route 543 near Fountain Green drew more fire from nearby residents when it was reviewed Wednesday by the Harford County Development Advisory Committee. The site was photographed in early 2017.
A new plan for the proposed Roberts Crossing single family house subdivision off Route 543 near Fountain Green drew more fire from nearby residents when it was reviewed Wednesday by the Harford County Development Advisory Committee. The site was photographed in early 2017. (ALLAN VOUGHT/THE AEGIS/BSMG)

A new plan for the proposed Roberts Crossing single family house subdivision off Route 543 near Fountain Green drew more fire from nearby residents when it was reviewed Wednesday by the Harford County Development Advisory Committee.

The plan calls for 21 lots, four more than a plan filed more than a year ago that neighboring residents also objected to, saying it would cause flooding of their properties and more traffic along a busy highway that has a history of bad accidents.

Advertisement

“We just don’t want our rights to be infringed upon,” Mario Venetos, a resident of the 800 block of Flintlock Drive in the adjacent Greenridge II subdivision, told members of the committee, also known by its acronym DAC, who reviewed the new preliminary plan.

Venetos and several of his neighbors are concerned about how stormwater runoff would be handled in Roberts Crossing, as their properties already experience heavy flooding during rainstorms.

The nearly 16-acre development site sits between Greenridge II and a 281-acre working farm, known as Christopher's Camp, which is in a state conservation easement.

Greenridge II, which surrounds Fountain Green Elementary School, was developed during the late 1980s. State and local laws governing stormwater runoff in new construction projects have become much stricter in the past 30 years.

“It is our responsibility,” DAC chairman Moe Davenport said. “We’re very much aware of Greenridge and the stormwater issues that have gone on for years.”

The Roberts Crossing site has wooded areas, a small stream and wetlands, the latter adjacent to houses along Flintlock Drive and Hickory Ridge Drive in Greenridge II.

Davenport stressed, in response to neighbors’ protests, that the property owners have the right to develop Roberts Crossing, and county and state officials will ensure they comply with the relevant codes.

“At the end of the day, I don’t want them infringing on my rights over 30 years of living there,” Venetos protested.

Mitch Ensor, of the Forest Hill engineering firm Bay State Land Services, presented the preliminary plan with the four new lots, slated for the rear of property owned by Michael and Marion Gullivan.

They will be built on the left-hand side of Shady Tree Court, a road that ends in a cul-de-sac and serves 18 of the 21 proposed lots. The Gullivans’ existing single family dwelling will remain on their property, Ensor said.

One of the 18 lots along Shady Tree Court will be another existing dwelling owned by the Roberts family. The Roberts are working with the Gaylord Brooks Realty Company, of Phoenix in Baltimore County, to develop the subdivision.

Three lots are on the opposite side of a wetland area, bisected by a stream. They will be served by a common drive built at the dead end of Hickory Ridge Drive, a side street off Flintlock. Motorists would come along Flintlock to Hickory Ridge to the common drive to get to those houses, according to Stephen Smith, president of Gaylord Brooks.

Hickory Ridge Drive residents Mark and Stacy Harman, and their neighbor, Walter Watkins, protested having the common drive connected to their street. They said their street and the common drive would be too narrow for emergency vehicles and snow plows.

Davenport said the land next door can be developed for the access road, as it abuts a nearby county road’s right of way.

Advertisement

“They [the developers] have access there, and I can’t deny it,” Davenport said.

“This is definitely going to impact the value of my property,” Mark Harman said. “I have a huge problem with this.”

Harman suggested building a bridge across the stream to connect the two sections of Roberts Crossing.

Smith told residents building a bridge in the sensitive wetland area would require approvals from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers.

He said later that developers must show there are “no other alternatives” to building in sensitive areas before getting approval, and “in this case, clearly there are.”

Smith also told The Aegis, regarding neighbors’ concerns about flooding, that both parts of Roberts Crossing drain into the stream.

“[We are] required by county and state laws to make sure we do not increase the amount of runoff that goes off site,” he said.

Harman told DAC members that he feels county officials are “stabbing” homeowners who have lived in Harford and paid taxes for years.

“We feel like we’re not being represented in this room,” he said.

Davenport took exception to the idea that DAC members do not care about the impact of development. He stressed there are protections in county and state codes for natural resources.

“We’re here to make sure that [developers] comply with those rules and regulations,” he said.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement