Neighbors fear land will be developed

April 04, 1993|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Contributing Writer

Owners of the 60-year-old Country Life Farm fought hard to stop a proposed shopping mall nearby, but now worry about the fate of 86 prime acres across from the horse-breeding farm.

The tract, known as the Soma property, a backward tribute to the Amos family, which farmed it in the 1800s, is on the market once more. After plans for the mall across from the Fallston farm fell through, the developer, who had borrowed $2.8 million for the project, declared bankruptcy, and Atlantic Federal Savings Bank foreclosed. Today the bank is offering the tract for $3 million.

Eighteen acres are designated B-3 zoning, which allows retail and service businesses. The balance is zoned for agricultural use and would need rezoning for any major development.

Josh Pons said the Winters Run Preservation Group, which he formed to fight the plans for the mall in 1989, is gearing up for another battle.

The land lies in the so-called "development envelope" -- an area the county has designated for its most intense development. But Mr. Pons said: "Just because it's in the development envelope doesn't mean it needs to be developed. Otherwise the whole development envelope would be one large strip mall."

William Carroll, Harford's planning director, said that before a zoning change could be granted, potential buyers would have to overcome such obstacles as a lack of access onto a hilly, curving stretch of U.S. 1 and environmental concerns such as sewerage, water supply and runoff.

"There'll be something there someday," Mr. Carroll said.

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