The late Charles P. Price got approval from Harford County nearly 30 years ago to build a 30,000 square-foot medical center on land he owns off of Route 152 in Fallston, but the agricultural zoning and opposition from neighbors prevented him — and later his children — from developing the property.
Mr. Price's daughter, Sandie Price Langrall of White Hall, is hoping to change that stalemate through Harford County's ongoing comprehensive zoning process.
She has applied on behalf of her late parents, Charles and Elizabeth, to get a 15.57-acre section of the 23.4-acre property rezoned, from agricultural to commercial-industrial.
That property, which is off of Route 152 and is between Harford Road at the south end and Connolly Road at the north end, is one of 115 properties located throughout Harford where the owners are seeking zoning changes under the comprehensive process that began last fall and is expected to conclude this fall.
A second Harford County Planning Advisory Board community input meeting on the countywide comprehensive zoning review will be held Tuesday at the Bel Air High School auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. Harford County conducts comprehensive reviews of its zoning code every eight years.
The five-member Planning Advisory Board held its first input meeting on April 11 at Edgewood High School, which approximately 60 people attended. About 30 people spoke, the majority of them expressing opposition to zoning changes proposed in their neighborhoods.
The planning board has an advisory role in the process. It will make recommendations on individual zoning changes to the county administration, which will in turn file a property-by-property review and decision with the County Council. The council has the final say on every change proposed.
The Price tract is one of a handful of properties in the Route 152 corridor, many of them clustered around the intersection of Route 152 and Route 1, where the owners have sought up-zoning that would allow more intense uses. It's a highly visible property in an area where many zoning battles have been fought for over four decades.
Most of the Price property is wooded, although BGE power lines cut through the northern end, and the land surrounds a State Highway Administration salt dome accessible from Route 152. The Prices land also abuts the Humane Society of Harford County's Connolly Road animal shelter.
"We own property all around that, that we can't do anything with," Langrall said.
She said the county has "really hamstrung us" by giving her father "a usage we can't use."
Documents posted on the county's online Rezoning Log indicate a variance has been granted for the 30,000 square-foot medical office building.
Langrall said her father obtained the county's approval in the late 1980s or early 90s for the office building.
Charles Price acquired the land in the late 1950s — he owned Moravia Pharmacy in Baltimore, and he wanted to bring his pharmacy services to Harford County as local and state officials were considering extending Perring Parkway from the city northeast to the Fallston area.
That highway extension did not happen, though, as Perring Parkway today ends just north of Baltimore. The Fallston property is still in Price family hands, and Langrall said she has received offers to develop it for nursing facilities or other commercial uses.
"[We're] just trying to upgrade the zoning so that we can actually do something with it, other than keep it in trees and really derive no benefit from it at all," she said.
Morita Bruce, a Fallston resident and president of the Friends of Harford community organization, plans to speak at Tuesday night's meeting about her concerns on requests from Aumar Village LLC, of Fallston, to rezone property between Route 1 and Harford Road from agricultural to R2 residential.
Bruce will speak as a Fallston resident who lives near the affected area. The requests cover nearly 24 acres that are adjacent to the Aumar Village shopping and dining center at the intersection of Route 152 and Route 1.
Three separate applications have been filed on behalf of Aumar Village LLC to rezone agricultural properties around Route 152 and Route 1 in Fallston for residential or commercial use.
Bruce said Monday that allowing intensive residential use under R2, such as townhouses, apartment complexes and senior citizen housing, would affect nearby single-family houses and a farm protected from development through agricultural preservation — the farm abuts the edge of the county's development envelope for Fallston and greater Bel Air.
Bruce said R1 zoning, which allows low-intensity residential development, would better suit the area.
"There's a huge difference between R1 and R2 in terms of what you can do there and how much impact it's going to have on those single family homes and the preserved farm next door," she said.
The HarfordNEXT master plan, approved in 2016, calls for low-intensity development in the Fallston area, according to Bruce. The comprehensive zoning process is meant to align property uses with the goals of the master plan.
Bruce said the high-intensity zoning sought for the mostly-undeveloped land next to Aumar Village is "breaking with what HarfordNEXT said it was supposed to be."
"We respect that plan and we abide by that plan," she said. "Otherwise, it's just a paper exercise."
Rezoning of a 1.3-acre property on the southwest corner of Route 1 and Reckord Road in Fallston from agricultural to residential office is being sought by 2901 Belair Road LLC.
There also are several residential to business rezonings being sought in the greater Bel Air area.
Several of the Bel Air area requested changes are along South Tollgate Road just south of Route 1 and along Route 1 south of the Bel Air Auto Auction.
Property owner G&N Properties LLC, of Bel Air, is seeking approval to rezone four acres out of 13.66 acres in the 800 block of Baltimore Pike — part of the Auto Auction property — from R1 to B3 commercial, according to the county's online rezoning tracker. The area north of the property in question is zoned B3 and is home to multiple businesses between there and Tollgate.
A second request by G&N Properties would affect two acres next door, heading south along Route 1. That acreage is occupied by two single-family houses at 825 and 901 Baltimore Pike.
That land would be up-zoned from R1 to B3, too, according to documents.
More information is online at www.harfordcountymd.gov/164/Planning-Zoning.