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Petition drive halts effort to adopt a comprehensive rezoning plan in Harford Disputed measure was set to go into effect today


Opponents of comprehensive rezoning in Harford County -- which was to have gone into effect today -- have stalled the process until next year, gathering enough signatures in a petition drive to put the issue on the 1998 ballot.

Robert D. Dillon, an organizer of the petition drive, said yesterday that his group has collected 9,008 signatures from residents frustrated with the fast pace of development in Harford.

The group needed to get signatures of 5,392 residents -- 5 percent of the county's 107,839 registered voters -- for the issue to be placed on the primary ballot in September. The signatures were accepted by the county elections board Nov. 26 and Wednesday.

"The signatures are still coming in," said Dillon, who with other volunteers has been collecting signatures outside local post offices. "The citizens of this county are upset."

Comprehensive rezoning occurs every eight years in Harford and allows property owners to request a change for their land. The latest comprehensive rezoning bill was approved by the Harford County Council in September after nearly a year of hearings and study.

Some in Harford have complained that the comprehensive rezoning process was faulty and did not reflect residents' desires. Some argued that the bill would allow too much growth and put pressure on county services and facilities.

"It was literally a springboard for sprawl," Dillon said.

But George Harrison, spokesman for Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, said filing of the petitions puts on hold the County Council's final decisions on landowners' 409 requests for zoning changes.

"I think that people need to realize what this means," Harrison said: Residents who want a change of zoning on their property can bypass the rezoning process.

Pub Date: 12/05/97

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