More residential growth is coming to greater Bel Air area, Harford officials say

Whether it's tiny houses, traditional houses or multi-family dwellings, more residential development is coming to Harford County, officials say.
Whether it's tiny houses, traditional houses or multi-family dwellings, more residential development is coming to Harford County, officials say. (Matt Button/The Aegis file)

The most recent updates to Harford County’s master water and sewer plan, codified in a resolution recently adopted by the County Council, show new development is booming in communities north and south of Bel Air, as well as near Aberdeen.

The plan also envisions the City of Aberdeen extending water and sewer service to the Ashley Addiction Treatment center several miles outside the current city limits.


Lots for single-family houses are being developed at the former Eva Mar farm off of Route 543 east of Bel Air, the same site where the Carsins Run at Eva Mar retirement community will be built, according to the plan update, which shows 104 out of 666 planned units have water and sewer service, compared to 68 as of the prior master plan update.

Single-family lots are also being developed at the Gray’s Run Overlook subdivision off of Stepney Road, with all 39 planned units receiving water and sewer service, according to tables accompanying the master plan update.


Some other examples of Bel Air residential development were cited by Darryl Ivins, a civil engineer with the county’s Division of Water and Sewer, when he discussed the plan update during a council public hearing Oct. 2.

One example is the Laurel Ridge subdivision off of Laurel Bush Road in Abingdon, which Ivins said is “almost completely built out” as of September — 167 out of 172 units have service, according to the plan’s development tables.

There also has been additional development in subdivisions south of Bel Air, as well, such as Magness Exemption, Magness Overlook and Somerset Hill, according to Ivins.

More growth coming


There is much more development on the horizon, according to the master plan, with 3,249 residential units, 64 commercial-zoned units, which include schools, and 481 industrial acres that have been slated for development, but not yet built on, according to Ivins.

The master plan is updated twice a year, during the spring and fall, to show new connections to the county’s system, daily use both now and projected in the future and the status of major infrastructure projects at the county and municipal level.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the fall update of the master water and sewer plan, during its legislative session Oct. 9.

Ivins also discussed recent industrial development, such as the Eastgate industrial project on Perryman peninsula. He said water and sewer service has been installed for three large recentlydeveloped lots in the industrial area.

The county celebrated the groundbreaking for Eastgate, which is being built on a 243-acre property between the Aberdeen Proving Ground fence line and the Amtrak rail line, in early 2017.

The number of undeveloped residential units has decreased by 203 since the spring update to the master plan was adopted, and undeveloped industrial acreage has decreased by 277.25 acres — all thanks to Eastgate — since the spring. There has been no change in the number of undeveloped commercial units, though, according to Ivins.

There were 371 new connections to the county water system in fiscal 2018 and 45,088 total water connections in Harford County, with an average systemwide consumption of 11.8 million gallons per day. There are 16.5 million gallons per day consumed on peak days.

The average customer consumes 262 gallons per day, 366 on peak days, according to the table.

“That is right in line with what we anticipate for that type of usage, for a yearly average,” Ivins said.

County officials project there will be 54,919 connections using an average of 15.2 million gallons per day as of fiscal 2035. That projected usage has decreased from 17 million gallons per day as of the spring 2018 plan update.

Projected peak day consumption has also decreased from 24.7 million to 22 million gallons per day, according to Ivins.

“We keep track of this data so that we can properly plan our capital budgets for our water system,” he said.

Sewer system upgrades

On the sewer side, Ivins mentioned several projects that have been completed and removed from the master plan, such as the seventh and final phase of construction on a line parallel to the Bynum Run Interceptor between the Maryland Golf & Country Club and East Wheel Road, plus the two-phase replacement of lines behind the Bynum Ridge subdivision north of Bel Air, lines that were beginning to fail.

He also discussed upcoming projects, such as building a sewer line extension to 12 houses along Freys Road in Edgewood. The residents petitioned the county for sewer connections in 2017 to replace their failing septic systems. The property owners must cover part of the construction costs through annual assessments over 30 years.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2019, according to the master plan update.

Improvements to the Hickory Area Collector system east of Bel Air are being planned this year, but there is no set date for design and construction in the master plan.

“In order to keep required adequate capacity in that system, there will be improvements made to that as they are needed,” Ivins said.

Upgrades to the Plumtree Pumping Station along Ring Factory Road near Route 24 will happen “as development occurs” to increase capacity, Ivins said.

Two pumping stations — Hickory Overlook and Ring Factory — have seen increased flows over the past year because of new development near the intersection of Route 1 and the Route 1 bypass near Hickory and around Tollgate Road south of Bel Air, Ivins said.

Ivins noted the Ring Factory station was designed for flows from new neighboring developments, such as Magness Farms and Somerset Hill, plus flow from additional development.

“It’s operating well within its limits,” he said.

Ashley water and sewer

The master plan includes potential water and sewer lines that would bring water from the City of Aberdeen to the Ashley Addiction Treatment facility on Tydings Road in Oakington, and bring sewage from the facility to the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Both projects are currently in the stages of discussion between city and Ashley staff, Public Works Director Kyle Torster said Monday.

Putting them in the county’s master plan serves as a “notice of intent,” according to Torster, who said plans can change.

“If you don’t put it down [in a plan], then you don’t have the building blocks to get to the next step,” Torster said.

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