Harford Week

February 09, 2003

Harford pulls back higher density bill for development

In an unexpected move, the Harford County administration withdrew last week 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.

Vacant shopping area fenced near Havre de Grace

The vacant Ames shopping center on U.S. 40 near Havre de Grace has been fenced off to prevent trespassing.

National Realty Group of New York owns the property at 21015 Pulaski Highway.

The site had become an eyesore because it had become a dumping ground after the last tenant left last fall.

GM supplier to sell line of production in Belcamp

Johnson Controls Inc., a seat-supplier to General Motors Corp.'s Southeast Baltimore assembly plant, sold a production line at its Belcamp facility and plans to lay off 100 workers - about two-thirds of its work force - beginning next month.

But Johnson will keep open another production line at the plant - with 50 remaining workers - that makes seats for the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari vans made at the Broening Highway plant, a company spokeswoman said.

Johnson's Debra Lacey said the Milwaukee-based company sold the Belcamp foam production line to the Woodbridge Foam Corp., a Canadian-based automobile seat manufacturer, for an undisclosed amount. The line made foam for use in seats constructed at the Belcamp plant and also supplied foam to other Johnson seat-making facilities on the East Coast, Lacey said.

9 taken to hospitals after exposure to fumes

Nine workers were taken to area hospitals as a precaution Wednesday night after they were exposed to lawn fertilizer fumes while loading a tractor-trailer truck at the Clorox plant in Aberdeen, state police reported.

About 7:30 p.m., workers noticed a loose powder inside the truck as they prepared to load it, and several had difficulty breathing after coming in contact with it, said Lt. Bud Frank, state police spokesman.

Because the substance was not immediately identified, he said, the workers were treated for hazardous material exposure and taken for observation and decontamination to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Harford Hospital, Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore County and Union Hospital in Cecil County.

SuperValu sells warehouse to Chicago company

A Harford County warehouse owned by SuperValu Inc. was sold to a Chicago-based real estate investment trust that plans to fill it with other businesses and add a building next door, the buyer confirmed Wednesday.

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. bought the 527,600-square-foot warehouse off Interstate 95 and will lease a portion back to the grocery operator and wholesaler.

SuperValu, which uses a little over a third of the warehouse, bought the building in 1994 for about $20 million and was asking $21.5 million. A First Industrial spokesman would say only that the property was acquired for close to the asking price.

First Industrial will also take control of 22 acres and will seek to find a business that wants a new warehouse of up to 330,000 square feet.

County drinking water has low level of perchlorate

The Army's latest tests of Harford County's drinking water supply have turned up a low level of a hazardous chemical in the water, as well as in two of the county's five Perryman production wells, a county official confirmed Thursday.

The drinking water was found to have a level of 0.47 parts per billion of perchlorate, said Jackie Ludwig, a water and sewer engineer. That amount is below the state's advisory limit of 1 part per billion for perchlorate in drinking water.

Roughly the same amount was found in county wells 8 and 9, which are part of the Perryman well field along the western boundary of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Well No. 9 had a perchlorate level of 0.41 ppb, while well No. 8's level was 0.47 ppb - the same reading as the finished water. County and APG officials, as well as community activists, said the results were perplexing, because the drinking water is diluted with water from higher-producing wells that were tested in December and found free of the chemical.

Copeland elected to head NAACP in Harford

Laura Copeland of Bel Air has been elected president of the Harford chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an office previously held by Joseph Bond, who died Jan. 24.

She teaches social studies at Aberdeen Middle School.

"The struggle is not over," Copeland said of her objectives for the NAACP. "We are trying to build bridges. I think one of the biggest bridges ... is to build our membership."

4 suspects arrested after van being pursued crashes

A minivan, reportedly stolen in the 6300 block of Falkirk Road, Baltimore, crashed at a dead-end on Bayview Drive in Havre de Grace after a police chase Thursday morning, police said.

The van was being driven by a 16-year-old and contained three passengers, ages 13, 16 and 20, police said.

Arrested at the scene was William Lloyd Moody, 20, of the 3600 block of Wabash Ave. in Baltimore, police said. He was charged in the theft of the 1992 Plymouth Voyager. The 13- year-old was arrested near the scene, and the two 16-year- olds were seized about an hour later near Meadowvale Elementary School in Havre de Grace, police said. All were charged, police said.

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