Harford council approves overhaul of zoning code

The Baltimore Sun

After two years of work, the Harford County Council unanimously approved last night an overhaul of its decades-old zoning code.

The council approved the revisions by a 7-0 vote; there was little discussion.

The nearly 800-page code, which included 159 amendments, was revised to help the county get a handle on rapid development, including the growth expected as a result of the military base realignment and closure process.

"It allows us to plan and control development and growth," said Harford County Executive David R. Craig, who attended the meeting to sign the code afterward. "It's the first time we have some really good controls."

He said the new zoning code will enable the county to protect farmland as well as key water sources.

Council members praised the new code and noted that it had required an enormous amount of work to complete. The code was last rewritten 25 years ago.

"We've created a higher standard of development," said County Council member Mary Ann Lisanti. One key change, she said, will allow the county for the first time to impose civil penalties for zoning violations.

Harford is bracing for BRAC, which is expected to bring about 20,000 new jobs to Harford by 2011. The estimated influx of 40,000 people will require new schools, roads, housing and infrastructure.

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