More residential development is coming off Gateway Drive in Bel Air adjacent to Heavenly Waters Park and a heavily used section of the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail.
Overlook at Gateway involves the construction of 76 garage condominium units in two buildings that will be between the existing Legacy at Gateway condo buildings and the Harford County-owned park and trail.
On Monday evening, the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners approved a public works agreement for the project with the developer, Gateway Business Center LLC.
The PWA, which was approved 4-0 by the board, with Mayor Susan Burdette absent, primarily covers responsibility for constructing a sewage pumping station to serve the new development, which is being built on 7.8 acres.
Excavation and site clearing for the development was underway when a reporter visited the site Wednesday morning.
The site is accessed from a driveway to a commercial strip that borders the existing condo development, which was built out early in this decade. It will also be accessed by another existing driveway that also provides access to the Legacy at Gateway’s parking areas, according to town Planning Director Kevin Small.
According to the development’s website, Overlook at Gateway is a 55 and older age-targeted community consisting of two-mid rise buildings – four to five stories – with units priced from the mid-$200,000s.
Each unit features two bedrooms and two full baths with five different floor plans. Amenities include “in-building parking for each home, two elevators, electronic front entry door and a mail and package room for deliveries. Plus, there will be a community social room and fitness center,” according to the website, which also notes the buildings overlook the Ma & Pa Trail.
Small said a 55 and older residency restriction also exists at Legacy at Gateway condos. The restriction is part of deed covenants and is enforced by the community’s homeowners association, he explained. If there is an issue the HOA can’t resolve, the town could get involved, but Small said that has happened only on a rare occasion or two with Legacy at Gateway.
The area where the new buildings are being constructed is downhill from Gateway Drive. The existing condo buildings in Legacy at Gateway have rear level parking that is on approximately the same level where the new buildings will be constructed.
Information within the public works agreement approved Monday by the town board shows a final site plan was approved by the town on July 30 and that sediment control and stormwater management plans were approved Aug. 15.
The public works agreement also states the developer must provide the town with a forest conservation plan, “providing protection for all trees and/or forested areas to be reserved as part of the on site retention requirement, prior to issuance of any permits by the town.”
Small said the forest conservation plan dates back several years before the first condos were built and remains in force.
Stormwater retention will be handled by two ponds behind the neighboring commercial development, Small said. The ponds exist but the one handling the water from the new condos will need some modifications, he said.
The developer was also required to submit a landscape and lighting plan which the town approved July 30, the PWA states. The developer is responsible for installing street lights as required by the town.
According to the public works agreement, sewage from the buildings will be pumped from the new pumping station to the existing gravity sewer in Gateway Drive.
The developer will be responsible for building the pumping station to town specifications at the developer’s expense. The town will hire an inspector to ensure the work is done in accordance with approved engineering plans. “Upon final acceptance, the Town of Bel Air will own and maintain the new public sanitary sewer pumping station,” the PWA states.
The pumping station and sewer plans were approved by the town on May 16, according to the agreement, which also states a cost estimate of $119,000 was furnished by the project engineer “for the construction of facilities...to be accepted by the town for ownership and maintenance” and is to be approved by the town as part of the agreement.
This will be the second pumping station built between the Gateway area and the Heavenly Waters/Ma & Pa Trail area. The first was built to service the English Country Manor community, which also contains condo buildings and was developed in the 1990s.
The Gateway area, which is off Boulton Street, contains both residential and commercial development, the latter including the Bel Air Post Office.
The area was part of the old fairgrounds and race track property that was used for the construction of Harford Mall in the early 1970s and the subsequent development north of the mall that has been ongoing since the late 1970s and early 1980s.