Harford pulls back higher density bill for development

February 05, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

In an unexpected move, the Harford County administration withdrew last night a bill proposing to increase development density for a proposed project on the Perryman peninsula.

Nancy Giorno, a lawyer in the county legal department, said County Executive James M. Harkins told her to withdraw the bill to allow a further review of issues at the site.

Neighbors reacted cautiously, but were encouraged by the news.

"Maybe they're going to come up with a more sensible plan," said Bill Gunther, a waterman who lives near the proposed development.

Gablers Shore LLC proposes building 54 single-family homes and redeveloping a marina and restaurant on 15 acres near the southern tip of the peninsula along the Bush River, where vacation cottages were originally platted in the 1930s.

Under county and state law, the original plats may be used today as the basis for redevelopment.

The area is subject today to Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Program restrictions, though this project is grandfathered, meaning the original land use is protected even when more current law might limit the project's size.

Under the bill withdrawn last night, the developers could have built larger homes. The developer would have had to build adequate storm-water management and improve the water quality of discharges into the Bush River by 10 percent.

The county would require a homeowners association to oversee the storm-water management.

The county's planning and zoning department asked the County Council to upgrade the density designation so the development could benefit from the water-quality improvement.

The upgrade also meant the county had to use one of its limited growth-allotments in the critical area.

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