Developers Agree To Help Sewage Plant Expansion

November 18, 1990|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

County and Bel Air planners say they could begin reviewing plans for new building projects in Bel Air as early as the spring of 1991, when construction to expand the Plumtree Run sewage pumping station is expected to begin.

Carol Deibel, Bel Air's planning director, said the expansion should mean:

* BTR Realty can move ahead with plans to expand the Hecht Co.'s space in the Harford Mall by 50,000 square feet.

* Hill Management can gear up its proposal to double the size of Bel Air Plaza.

"But it will be a year-and-a-half or two years before the station is up and running or the developers have their projects done," Deibel said.

Construction in Bel Air, south and west of Main Street, has been under a moratorium since the County Council voted in March to refuse sewer line hook-ups for new projects because the pumping station was nearly over capacity.

The county was able to impose the moratorium because it owns the pumping station and has an agreement with the town of Bel Air to review any construction permits the town issues.

Although the expansion of the Plumtree Run sewage pumping station was initially expected to take as long as three or four years, a unique compromise with three development companies has allowed the project to move ahead of schedule.

Under the agreement with BTR Realty, Hill Management, and Bel Air Land Development, the county will pay for the $1 million worth of improvements to the pumping station and speed up the expansion.

In return, the group of developers agreed to pay additional fees for hook-ups for water-using fixtures such as tank toilets, valve toilets and sinks, which are each assigned a point value. For example, a valve toilet, which uses more water than a tank toilet, is logged as 10 points.

The agreement requires developers to pay $800 for every 30 points.

The money collected will be used to recoup the county's expenses in the expansion of the sewage pumping station.

Michael C. Trenery, project developer for BTR Realty, said, "Certainly the fact that we wanted to expand Harford Mall was a factor in our developing this compromise."

Even so, Deibel said she is relieved that the worst of the problem is over.

"We had no new non-residential development and we were the only area in the region that didn't. That's tough because it hurts your tax base. At least things are getting started again."

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