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Bel Air Commissioners Talk Noise, Food Trucks

The Bel Air Board of Commissioners meets tonight.

Bel Air officials moved one step closer Monday to allowing food trucks in town.

Proposed legislation that would allow peddlers, itinerant dealers and food trucks was accepted for introduction by the Bel Air Board of Commissioners with a unanimous vote Monday. This is the first step in making the changes law.

A public hearing on the issue will be scheduled some time in January 2013.

Town Planner Kevin Small said if the legislation is passed, food trucks would be allowed to operate along metered spaces as long as the meter was paid and parking times were observed. These businesses would not be permitted on Main or Bond streets or a part of Thomas Street to avoid interference with existing restaurants and eateries.

Commissioner David Carey said the goal is to continue support of local businesses while allowing these trucks to come into other areas not currently served by existing businesses.

Licences for itinerant dealers would be extended from six months to one year with a one-time fee of $230 for a year.

Bridget Lloyd from MaGerk’s Pub said during public comment she thinks the town is selling themselves short on the fees for food trucks and peddlers.

"The bricks and mortars pay a lot and invest a lot in the town," Lloyd said. "My liquor license alone is $2,500 and that’s just a little nugget.

MaGerk's was recognized as Bel Air's business of the year this year for ongoing contribution to the community.

You can find copies of the proposed legislation and a map of permitted areas here.

Find live updates from the meeting below:

8:27 p.m.: The meeting is closed.

8:26 p.m.: Hopkins joked the only complaint he heard was that the town didn’t have a big screen at Shamrock Park to display the Ravens game.

8:25 p.m.: Preston and Burdette also extended their thanks for the parade.

8:24 p.m.: Reier thanked everyone involved in making the Bel Air Christmas Parade a success.

8:24 p.m.: Carey said he was able to take part in Small Business Saturday and it was a great event and spoke with a number of business owners who were pleased with the turnout. “I think that’s an event that we need to keep supporting every year.”

8:22 p.m.: Adolph said the front entrance to the property often floods. He is on the board of directors for the property.

8:20 p.m.: Greg Adolph expressed his thanks to everyone involved in putting together the Bel Air Christmas Parade. He also expressed concerns about the condition of the site at Moores Mill Manor.

8:18 p.m.: Bridget Lloyd from MaGerk’s Pub said she thinks the town is selling themselves short on the fees for food trucks and peddlers. “The bricks and mortars pay a lot and invest a lot in the town,” Lloyd said. “My liquor license alone is $2,500 and that’s just a little nugget.”

8:13 p.m.: The motion to receive this legislation carries with a unanimous vote.

8:13 p.m.: Right now a fee in lieu for open space is 15 percent per acre, Small said. The changes would make the requirement for active open space a little more than an acre which would equal an $8,000 fee. The planning commission has to approve the acceptance of fee in lieu of open space. The hearing will be after Jan. 1, 2013.

8:11 p.m.: Small said the license for itinerant dealers would be extended from six months to 1 year under the proposed changes as well as fees pertaining to that. The fee will be $60 for 90 days and $230 for a year.

8:11 p.m.: A motion to approve a resolution dealing with the town’s fee schedule is made.

8:10 p.m.: All vote in favor of receiving this legislation and the motion carries. A hearing will be held after the first of 2013.

8:09 p.m.: Small said these development regulations also deal with food truck-style sales. It is proposed that the town repeal this part of the ordinance completely and deal with regulation of the peddlers and itinerant dealers strictly through the town code, which was just discussed.

8:08 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Preston moves to approve development regulations.

8:08 p.m.: All vote in favor of receiving the legislation. A hearing will be held after the first of the year.

8:07 p.m.: Burdette said she would like to hear more from the Bel Air Downtown Alliance on the opinions of their members on this legislation.

8:06 p.m.: Carey said the idea here is to support local brick and mortar businesses while allowing these trucks to come in to other areas, perhaps not currently served by these businesses.

8:05 p.m.: A public hearing will be held in January.

8:03 p.m.: The legislation also requires the town planner and police review each permit and that each have insurance coverage. They cannot sell on certain holidays or the same day as the Bel Air Arts Festival.

8:02 p.m.: At the planning meeting there were concerns about food trucks opening in front of existing restaurants. The proposed legislation would not allow any food trucks on Main Street, Bond Street or part of Thomas Street to avoid this problem.

8:01 p.m.: Town Planner Chris Schehr said the new chapter will define peddlers and itinerant dealers, would permit sales along metered spaces as long as the meter and times are observed.

8:00 p.m.: Commissioner Susan Burdette moves to update the town code chapter dealing with itinerant dealers.

7:59 p.m.: The motion carries with a unanimous vote.

7:57 p.m.: The owner of the Tower Restaurant would add signs to the new BB&T Bank lot, create another entrance and install a small outdoor dining area. The town would receive $320,000 in rent. The lease term is three years.

7:57 p.m.: Commissioner David Carey moves to approve a lease agreement from 29 S. Main Street LLC (Tower Restaurant).

7:56 p.m: Commissioner David Carey moves to reappoint Greg Adolph to the town board of appeals. The motion carries unanimously.

7:55 p.m.: Commissioner Susan Burdette moves to reappoint Jeanie Close to the Cultural Arts board. The motion carries unanimously.

7:55 p.m.: All vote in favor of the motion and the noise prohibitions are officially approved.

7:54 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Reier moves to approve the noise prohibition updates.

7:54 p.m.: There are no comments from the public or town officials and the hearing closes.

7:51 p.m.: Chief Leo Matrangola explained when police respond to noise complaints dealing pertaining to local dance halls or bars, sometimes the sound meter does not register the noise as above legal levels. Proposed changes would make it illegal for noise to cause visible or palpable vibrations. The changes are in line with current laws at the state level.

7:51 p.m.: A public hearing on a proposed noise ordinance begins.

7:49 p.m.: The first place winner received a $100 gift card to the Harford Mall. The second place winner received a $75 gift card and the third place winner received a $50 gift card.

7:38 p.m.: Three students come forward to read their essays aloud.

7:35 p.m.: Mayor Edward Hopkins announces winners of the yearly essay contest dealing with municipal government.  John Carroll students answered this year’s question.

7:32 p.m.: ”You are our future and I feel quite certain we are in good hands,” Burdette told Sarah.

7:31 p.m.: Commissioner Susan Burdette recognizes local student Sarah Linglebach.

7:30 p.m.: The meeting is called to order.

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