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The Aegis
Harford County

32 more homes proposed in West Ring Factory Road area in Bel Air

A proposed 32-home development on 22 acres off West Factory Road near Turret Road will be adjacent to the existing Camelot neighborhood and another new development called Magness Exemption.

A prominent Harford County businessman wants to develop a 32-lot single family home subdivision on about 22 acres off of West Ring Factory Road, but a county planning official says the project can't proceed until utilities for another new development are built.

Andrew Klein, or "606 Lancelot Lane LLC," has submitted plans for 32 residential lots, and one lot revision, on almost 22 acres of what is known as the O'Connell property, just past Turret Road.

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The property is near the intersection of Tollgate and Ring Factory roads, west of Route 24, where two other housing developments are in progress. The property is adjacent to the existing Camelot subdivision.

The county planning department says the Klein project can't move forward until the proposed 300-home Magness development, on the north and south sides of Ring Factory Road, is significantly under way.

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Planner Betsey Greene said last week the O'Connell development would use the water and sewer facilities of the Magness development, which was delayed for several years because of a school capacity moratorium and other issues.

The O'Connell property project was presented to the county's Development Advisory Committee, or DAC, last Wednesday. The DAC review of the Magness project was in January, when a number of residents complained about the magnitude of it.

The O'Connell property homes would be on the outer edge of Camelot, an established single family home community on the west side of Tollgate Road south of Ring Factory, where the first homes were built more than 40 years ago.

Greene said the planning and zoning department declined to accept a $51,000 fee in lieu of the developer providing one acre of open space on the O'Connell property. Greene said the planning and zoning department is requiring the developer to provide all open space on-site.

The site is required to have 2.03 acres of open space, half of which must be active open space.

Forestation requirements dictate 890 trees be planted on 2.8 acres and 41 trees on streets, according to minutes from the recent DAC meeting.

A minimum five-foot landscaped buffer strip is required by the Ring Factory Road right-of-way.

The development would be smaller than the permitted density of 45 dwelling units, according to the DAC minutes.

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The site includes part of Plumtree Run and is connected with a 100-year floodplain.

Camelot connection issue

The development plan shows 30 R1 lots and two R2 lots. The minimum lot sizes would be 15,000 square feet in the R1 zoning and 10,000 square feet in the R2 zoning, and the maximum building height would be three stories.

The developer is not proposing a street connection with nearby Camelot Drive or Lancelot Lane, although Greene said county regulations require a plan showing connections to both. Otherwise, access to the new development would be from West Ring Factory Road.

Several Camelot residents attended a community input meeting about the O'Connell property development on Feb. 1, according to the sign-in sheet from the meeting, and the connection issue was raised during that session.

One resident at last week's DAC meeting, who was not identified in the minutes, said he "definitely" did not want a connection to Camelot, which Lou Schaffer, of Frederick Ward Associates, said is not planned, according to the meeting minutes.

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Schaffer said developers plan to provide documentation of a previous Board of Appeals case stating that as part of a settlement with the community, the road connection would not be made.

The resident also said the area gets "a tremendous amount of water" even during a light rain, to which Schaffer replied: "Actually, it will be improved because of the way they are going to be grading the site and minimizing the drainage area."

"Once the [adjoining] Magness property is developed, that is going onto the ridge and valley that is coming down and feeding that inlet," he continued. "Most of that drainage will be cut off."

A concept stormwater management plan has been submitted. Moe Davenport, chairman of DAC, said approvals could take several months.

One resident, identified in the minutes as "Ms. Magness," said she has been going through the process for 13 years and was not notified of the meeting.

She said there are right-of-ways and easement issues from Lancelot Lane in Camelot that also need to be addressed before the plan is approved.

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Klein, one of the owners of the Harford County ShopRite stores, declined to comment on the project except to refer to the plans. Klein has developed other residential communities in the Forest Hill area.

"The set policy (which has been in place for some time, I believe), as I understand it, is not to comment on anything related to development except as matters of public record, and to adhere absolutely to the procedures and processes dictated by law," Klein's spokesman Mike Blum wrote in an e-mail last week.

The plan for the property adjacent to Klein's property, to be developed by Robert and Sondra Magness, was approved by the county in 2011 but, following the time lag, it was reviewed again by DAC in January. A revised version of the plan includes 302 homes, reducing the number of townhomes from 175 to 167. The remaining 135 units would be single-family homes.

Those townhomes are expected to cost in the $200,000 range, which some neighbors complain would decrease the value of their homes, which they claim are selling between $515,000 and $650,000.

"We are still in the process of working through the Magness development," Greene said about the progress on that project.

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A third new development at the same intersection, Richardson's Legacy, has 42 single family home lots. Sales in Richardson's Legacy began in 2010-11, and builder Richmond American Homes recently listed a new home in the community for $459,000, according to MLS.com. Some older homes in the community are listed in the $560,000 to $590,000 range, according to the same website.


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