Bel Air approves new flood plan, parking limit changes

The Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners approved a new Flood Mitigation Plan Tuesday that town officials say should save some property owners money on their insurance in the future.

At their 40-minute town meeting, the commissioners also approved a paving contract for Winding Alley in Howard Park and set some new parking limits in the downtown area.

Also approved were two changes involving stop signs, including the removal of the stop at Kenmore Avenue and Heighe Street, which was rendered unnecessary by new traffic patterns associated with the new Bel Air High School building.

The resolution to adopt the Flood Mitigation Plan was discussed briefly at the previous town meeting Aug. 20, but a vote was postponed to give the commissioners more time to review it.

At the earlier meeting, Public Works Director Randy Robertson said adoption of the plan could result in added insurance rating points and reductions of 5 percent in flood insurance premiums.

According to the introduction to the new plan, communities have been encouraged to take measures through the National Flood Insurance Program to address potential and known flooding issues.

"Specifically, the Town of Bel Air initiated the process of preparing a Flood Mitigation Plan in early 2010," the introduction continues. "The objective of the Plan is to identify primary flood hazard areas and provide actions to alleviate or minimize future damages, and losses and to enhance public safety."

In February 2011, the town hired George W. Stephens Jr. and Associates to assist the town in the drafting of a Flood Mitigation Plan. The complete plan is available on the town's website under the public works department at

"The commissioners appreciate the hard work that went into this," Mayor Eddie Hopkins told Robertson. "Your work hasn't gone unnoticed."

Winding Alley

A contract for $21,400 was awarded to Frank J. Goettner Construction in Kingsville to repave Winding Alley in Howard Park from Atwood Road to Kelly Avenue.

According to Robertson, the block long job will involve about 9,000 square feet of asphalt. The town has $260,000 budgeted this year for street resurfacing, he said.

Hopkins, who lives in the neighborhood, said one resident had asked that the one-way signs be put back after the work is completed.

Parking changes

A handful of parking limit changes were approved by resolution:

• A three-hour limit was set on the north side of Alice Anne Street from Hays to Bond streets to reflect new parking meters being installed in the block;

• A two-hour limit was set on Lee Street between Main and Bond streets, also reflecting new meters, which also means the elimination of the former six-hour limit in the block.

• A two-hour limit was set on the new metered lot on South Main Street, the former BB&T; property;

• A two-hour limit was set on the south side of Thomas Street from Hays Street to Western Alley between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For some inexplicable reason, there had been a 30-minute limit from Archer Street to Western Alley that has been eliminated, Planning Director Kevin Small said.

• The two-hour limit was removed from the town-owned lot on the south side of Lee Street because the lot is being leased from the town.

Stop signs

Also via resolution, the commissioners voted to remove the one-way stop sign at Kenmore Avenue and Heighe Street at what was the entrance to the former high school building. With the old school gone, traffic simply moves through a yield at that point, making the stop sign irrelevant, Small said.

They also voted to make permanent a three-way stop sign at Ridgewood Road and Howard Street, which Small said had been tried successfully on a permanent basis, after previous complaints that a two-way sign wasn't working.

All of Tuesday's votes were unanimous among the four commissioners present. Commissioner David Carey was absent, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The next town meeting will be Monday, Sept. 17, at Town Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

• Fall lunchtime concerts will be held Fridays at noon on Office Street: Sept. 7, Regents of Jazz; Sept. 14, Jules Jams; Sept. 21, Gentlemen of Jazz; and Sept. 28, Bel Air High Jazz Ensemble.

• Bel Air Rotary Club is sponsoring a croquet charity event Sunday, Sept. 9, at Rockfield Manor, rain or shine, beginning at 11 a.m. For more information, visit or call 410-836-6272.

• The Bel Air Festival for the Arts will be held Sunday, Sept. 16, rain or shine in Shamrock Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. A free shuttle will run from the MVA parking lot to Shamrock.

• The Harford County Wine Festival will be held at Rockfield Manor Sept. 29 from noon to 7 p.m. For more information visit or call 410-638-4565.

• The Bel Air Police Department's annual Child Safety Fair will be held Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Shamrock Park.

• Fire Prevention Day will be held Oct. 13 at the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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