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A vacant house on Red Pump Road north of Bel Air can be used as a personal care boarding house for up to 10 residents under a recent zoning ruling.
A vacant house on Red Pump Road north of Bel Air can be used as a personal care boarding house for up to 10 residents under a recent zoning ruling. (ALLAN VOUGHT | AEGIS STAFF)

An unused house in the 800 block of Red Pump Road, north of Bel Air, will be converted into a personal care boarding home to serve as many as 10 senior citizen residents, according to a site plan presented to the Harford County Development Advisory Committee Wednesday.

Jennifer Holahan and her husband, Edward Jehnert, will be the owners and operators of the facility, which is surrounded by the residential neighborhoods of Brentwood Park and Valewood Estates.

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The one-acre property is zoned R2 residential. Zoning Hearing Examiner Robert Kahoe granted a special exception in June to develop the personal care boarding home – the existing 1,600 square-foot home will be expanded by about 1,900 square feet, according to Kahoe's report.

Since less than 5,000 square feet is being disturbed by the development, "we are not subject to sediment control or stormwater management [requirements]; forest conservation is also exempt," Bob Capalongo, of the Forest Hill engineering firm, CNA LLC, said.

Capalongo presented the site plan to the DAC during Wednesday morning's hearing.

He noted developers "are not taking down anything significant" in terms of landscaping. He said a few trees will be removed, and new shrubbery will be planted.

The existing driveway from Red Pump Road will be maintained, according to Capalongo. He said a patio, for people to convene outside, will be built in addition to the expansions to the house.

Five parking spaces will be available, with access from the driveway.

Bill Snyder, who represents volunteer fire companies, suggested the developers mark off an area in the parking lot for "ambulance-only" loading and unloading.

"It's becoming a more popular thing in the area," he said of senior care facilities.

Capalongo said a striped area, with "no parking" signs, will be created for ambulances.

Holahan stressed, in response to questions from committee members and the public, that all residents will be seniors, and caregivers will be on site 24 hours a day. Only "private pay," not public assistance, will be accepted for payment, according to Holahan.

Holahan cares for three people at her existing personal care boarding home on Sassafras Court in Bel Air. She plans to sell that facility and transfer the patients to the new building off of Red Pump Road, according to the zoning hearing examiner's report.

The new facility would be licensed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and it will be subject to regular visits by state inspectors and a nurse, according to the report.

Four caregivers will work there, two during the day and two at night, in addition to Holahan.

The residents will be "ambulatory," but they will need help with cooking and hygiene, according to the report.

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Holahan said after the DAC hearing that she expects to be open in about a year.

Developers must determine the source of water for the facility before opening. Capalongo said the plans call for using an existing well on the property, plus abandoning the existing septic reserve area and connecting to county sewer service.

Len Walinski, who represents the Harford County Health Department, read comments from his colleague, Julie Mackert, who noted the well must be "yield tested" to determine how much water it can produce.

The 42-foot well was drilled in 1973. The water must be chlorinated and tested for bacteria and nitrates, according to Mackert's report.

Darryl Ivins, of the county's Division of Water and Sewer, said his office "is requiring that this project connect to the public water system."

A county water main is across Red Pump Road, 130 feet away, Ivins said. He said the main should be extended to the boarding house with an easement along the road frontage for future extensions.

He also noted the sewage would be transported to the Brentwood Park pumping station, which has been identified as having capacity problems in the county's Adequate Public Facilities report "for many years."

"Our division is currently re-evaluating the pumping station to determine if capacity for the project exists and we will let you know when we get answers to that question," Ivins told Capalongo.

A manhole for sewer service must be installed on the property, if officials determine the pumping station had adequate capacity, Ivins said.

"That [sewer] main will have to be able to serve adjacent properties on the north and the south of this development," he said.

Abingdon/Edgewood commercial development

The committee members also reviewed Wednesday plans to demolish a vacant bank and build a 9,000 square-foot retail building on a 1.05-acre site in the 3100 block of Emmorton Road in Abingdon, as well as subdivide a 5.12-acre property off of Emmorton Park Road in Edgewood for the Emmorton Business Park.

The Emmorton Park Road property, which is just south of the Route 24/I-95 interchange, is in the midst of a well-developed commercial area. Mitch Ensor, of Bay State Land Services, of Bel Air, said developers plan to create two lots on the five-acre property.

One three-story, 30,000 square-foot office building would be built on each lot, according to a preliminary site plan Ensor presented Wednesday. He also presented a preliminary plan covering the subdivision of the property.

Phyllis Friedman, a Towson attorney representing the owners of the neighboring Stack & Store self-storage facility, expressed concerns about water runoff and flooding and suggested measures to control that at Emmorton Business Park.

"We just wanted to be sure that the water here is accounted for, because if it isn't, we're going to go back and be flooded again," Friedman said.

Moe Davenport, chairman of the DAC, noted "the stormwater management designs will take that into account."

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