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Bel Air Passes Development Regulations With Parking Stipulation

The Bel Air Board of Commissioners met Tuesday this week in light of the Monday President's Day holiday.

The Bel Air Board of Commissioners approved alterations to development regulations during Monday's meeting after an amendment that ensures the parking requirements stay the same in one of the three zones proposed to change.

Among the proposed changes was an amendment reducing the number of parking spaces a developer is required to provide in B2, B3A and B2A zoning areas which essentially encompass the downtown area.

Commissioner Dave Carey proposed the development regulations be approved on the condition that the amendment to parking changes in the B2A zone be removed.

Carey said this would eliminate the option to reduce minimum parking spaces from 2.5 to 2 in that area. The B2A zone includes Hays and Thomas Streets and areas Carey said are residential areas and not appropriately downtown areas.

With Carey's stipulation, the changes were approved unanimously.

8:36 p.m.: The meeting was adjourned.

8:35 p.m.: Hopkins thanked Sullivan for coming back and sharing the resolution.

8:34 p.m.: “I really felt boxed in, squeezed in and abused” “I wanted to let you know I’m okay with it, but it wasn’t perfect, but we got to a resolution,” Sullivan said.

8:31 p.m.: "I do think there is a lesson here," Sullivan said. "I do think Parking has become a problem here in the town of Bel Air."

8:28 p.m.: Sullivan said he, Schlehr and Chief Leo Matrangola sat down and discussed the issue. He said the situation took away his parking, but added it wasn’t intentional.

8:28 p.m.: Tim Sullivan of Powell Avenue in Bel Air said he came in in December "pretty riled up" about parking concerns. "I came here with some good news," Sullivan said.

8:27 p.m.: All voted in favor of introducing the mid-year-budget resolution.

8:26 p.m.: Robertson said the money provided in one of the grants would only have allowed retrofitting LED lights in the parking garage for only one or two levels. Instead the money can be used for replacing HVAC units at town hall and that use has been approved by the grand distributor.

8:24 p.m.: Moody said there will be a public hearing on March 5.

8:20 p.m.: Moody said a lot of the additional funding will come from grant money.

8:17 p.m.: Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said the amendment is a mid-course review they do every year.

8:17 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Reier introduced the mid-year budget for approval.

8:17 p.m.: All voted in favor of the addendum.

8:16 p.m.: Director of public works said the county included the revision fee, an additional $2.53 per 1,000 gallons used.

8:15 p.m.: Care moved to introduce an addendum to the Harford County-Town sewer service agreement.

8:14 p.m.: Brian Payne was reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission. All voted in favor of this motion.

8:13 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Preston introduced the fee schedule resolution for approval. All voted in favor and the motion carried.

8:13 p.m.: All commissioners voted in favor of approving the resolution.

8:11 p.m.: Commissioner Dave Carey proposed the development regulations be approved on the condition that the amendment to parking changes in the B2A zone. Carey said this would eliminate the option to reduce minimum parking spaces from 2.5 to 2. He said this zone also includes some residential areas and are not appropriately downtown areas.

8:10 p.m.: Moody said it doesn’t matter how much the project costs, it’s the same amount of work for the administration office and $30 is enough.

8:09 p.m.: Jones asked if the fee is limited only to storm project management. Moody said yes, that is the case.

8:07 p.m.: Moody said after the town performed an exception service for a homeowner’s association in the town and since it is outside the town Department of Public Works usual responsibilities the town does not feel it is appropriate for all tax payers to foot that bill and instead wish to institute a $30 fee per project per property owner per year to account for administration costs.

8:07 p.m.: Director of Finance Lisa Moody introduced the public hearing on a fee schedule amendment.

8:05 p.m.: Mike Jones said he had two questions, but first said the parking estimates were accurate. Jones asked about why the town left building permit and not grading permit. Small said that was the way it already was and did not elect to change it. He added sometimes the grading permit is issued and not a building permit.

8:03 p.m.: Adolph asked if a group home could exist in a condo. Town legal counsel said yes, as long as it is in the correct zoning area it could be.

8:00 p.m.: Small said the change in the legislation refers to landscaping improvements under common area improvements and they must be approved on the landscape plan.

7:59 p.m.: Greg Adolph asked Small what potential bonds could be secured or determined under this legislation.

7:56 p.m.: Small said currently the town designates group homes as a permitted use. This characterization is considered discriminatory by the state and Small said the changes will allow 8 people living under the same roof to be treated as a family residence.

7:53 p.m.: Small said in the transition overlay district, it’s a right for someone to have one employee. He added a proposed change would allow the option for a maximum of three full- or part-time non-resident employees.

7:52 p.m.: What we did was go back and see what zones would be most appropriate for that parking requirement,” Small said. He explained the B2, B2A and B3A zones, essentially downtown, are appropriate for this because the reduced parking requirement would encourage residential development in those downtown areas.

7:49 p.m.: Small said in the B2A and downtown area zones, a developer would be permitted to reduce the required 2.5 parking spaces per dwelling unit to 2 under the changes.

7:48 p.m: In the mixed-use development area, Small said the proposed change is 1 space per 250 square feet as opposed to 200 feet.

7:48 p.m.: Small said currently, the town has 2.5 spaces per dwelling units.

7:46 p.m.: Parking in the downtown also came up as an issue. Small cited figures that indicate the average low to mid-rise apartments generate 1.2 vehicles on average per condominium.

7:45 p.m.: We are trying to allow a corner lot located on two arterial roads, only the front of the building is required to have the 20-foot setback under the proposed changes. This would grant those corner lots some additional space.

7:43 p.m.: If you ever find a walking area that is already 20 feet, to add an additional 20-foot setback, the buildings will not be even. The amendment allows 26-feet from the edge of the curb as a permitted alternative.

7:42 p.m.: Small said one of the changes to allow four and a half stories, but still 55 feet maximum. This would allow half a story more of roofing, but the same height.

7:40 a,m.: Small presented a drawing to illustrate the height and setback of front hards. Currently, if a building is less than three stories, it can be directly on the right of way, but if the building is four stories, it must be set back 20 feet at least.

7:39 p.m.: A number of issues called for changes in development regulations including related building setbacks, required off-street parking, home occupations and group homes, Small said.

7:38 p.m.: A public hearing on development regulations began. Town planner Kevin Small started a presentation on the ordinance.

7:37 p.m.: This is really important, as the mayor said, that this is a team effort,” Helm said.

7:37 p.m.: “Your efforts did not go unnoticed,” Hopkins said.

7:36 p.m.: “I can’t thank Det. Helm enough,” Hopkins said.

7:35 p.m.: Helm also investigated a case of witness intimidation. The suspect, Rakim Raid Muhammad, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

7:33 p.m.: Det. Helm when he was assigned this case had minimal experience as a detective. Over 18 months Helm conducted 60 interviews, many of which were of gang members, identified four credible witnesses and identified the suspect within 72 hours.

7:31 p.m.: Hopkins recognized Helm’s “genuine determination” in investigating the shooting death of Derrick Maxey Jr. outside the American Legion.

7:30 p.m.: Mayor Eddie Hopkins calls Det. Bradley Helm to the podium for recognition.

7:29 p.m.: The meeting was called to order.

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