Most rezoning requests urged for denial

Harford council plans hearings on proposals

September 16, 2005|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Harford County planners have recommended denial of the majority of 325 rezoning requests, County Executive David R. Craig announced yesterday.

Craig said that the county Department of Planning and Zoning is recommending that the County Council vote down 75 percent of the applications.

A limited amount of requests to rezone agriculture land for residential development were recommended for approval.

Anthony McClune, acting planning and zoning director, said: "We are not recommending any expansion of the [county's] development envelope."

The administration's recommendations must be approved by the Harford County Council, which will receive the requests in November and hold public hearings starting in January. Craig said people whose requests were recommended to be denied can appeal to the council.

Craig said planners followed the county's master land-use plan in making the decisions.

Addressing the concerns of Churchville-area residents about commercial development, McClune said only 15 acres out of 430 requested were recommended for rezoning to the B3 designation. He said that B3 is the county's highest-density business designation and allows for a range of commercial uses, including convenience stores, gas stations, shopping centers and big-box stores.

McClune said the county received requests to change about 1,500 acres from agriculture to rural residential, but is recommending approval for only 252 acres. Most of that land, he said, consists of small farms surrounded by residential development.

Letters were mailed to landowners yesterday, notifying them of the outcome of their requests, Craig said. County officials declined to discuss specific parcels yesterday.

Judy Blomquist, president of Friends of Harford, a citizen organization that monitors growth issues, was displeased by the announcements.

"They need to reject more than 75 percent," she said. Blomquist also said that the loss of 252 acres of farmland was "too much."

County Council President Robert S. Wagner said he would schedule four public meetings before the council acts on the rezoning requests.

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