Proposed Bel Air Land Exchange Draws Public Concern

Two members of the community spoke out against a proposal to declare a parcel of land surplus and then swap that land with a property owner.

The Town of Bel Air is considering the possibility of declaring surplus a piece of land next to Shamrock Park in order to make a swap with a nearby property owner.

Ten years ago, a similar issue arose involving this same property, Louis Juliana said during public comment.

Juliana said the piece of land the Felton family wishes to exchange with the town is, "like exchanging an pile of dirt for a pound of gold."

Juliana said he and other like-minded town residents don't want the piece of land sold or swapped, but wish it to remain town property.

Tom Hopkins also voiced opposition to the proposed land exchange and reminded the commissioners that the previous board promised the land would not be an issue again.

A public hearing will be held in the near future, but the date had not been determined as of post time.

You can find a copy of the proposed legislation attached to this post.

Check out live updates from the meeting, below:

8:03 p.m.: The meeting is adjourned.

8:02 p.m.: Tom Hopkins of Major’s Choice said the board previously said the issue of declaring that piece of property surplus would never come up again. He said he has faith in the town government but not the federal, state or even county government who “have more secret meetings than the CIA.”

7:58 p.m.: Carey said the public hearing on the surplus property and land exchange will take place in the future. The hearing is scheduled for March 18.

7:57 p.m.: “That’s like exchanging an pile of dirt for a pound of gold,” Louis Juliana said of the proposed land swap.

7:55 p.m.: Ron Krebs of Bel Air drops off a packet for the town of commissioners to consider regarding zoning legislation.

7:53 p.m.: The reappointment is approved.

7:52 p.m.: Burdette moves to reappoint Patrick Richardson to the Bel Air planning commission for a term of five years.

7:52 p.m.: All vote in favor and the motion carries.

7:49 p.m.: Small explained the Felton’s own a 30-foot wide strip next Shamrock Park and the Bel Air memorial tree grove. The family wants to exchange a piece of land directly connected to their property in hopes of building a home on the 1.3 acre lot. The family has offered to remove an existing chain link fence and accept all costs involved in the land swap.

7:48 p.m.: Commissioner Reier moves to designate surplus property and authorize the exchange and acquisition of surplus property be approved.

7:48 p.m.: The motion carries with a unanimous vote.

7:47 p.m.: Robertson explained Desmond conducted the initial study of the garage and it makes sense for them to examine the updates.

7:46 p.m.: Commissioner Susan Burdette moves to award a contract for parking garage inspection services to Desmond Incorporated for up to $20,000.

7:45 p.m.: The motion carries.

7:42 p.m.: Town director of Public Works, Randy Richardson, said substantial repair project is needed to keep the garage in order. Updates include replacing a stair tower and waterproofing.

7:41 p.m.: David Carey moves to award a contract of $764,198 to Manganaro Midatlantic LLC for repairs to the Hickory Parking Garage.

7:41 p.m.: The board votes unanimously to accept the legislation for introduction.

7:41 p.m.: A public hearing will take place in the future.

7:39 p.m.: The limitation of six per block would be something of a compromise with the county, and was this way before 1997.

7:38 p.m.: Town Planner Kevin Small said before 1987 the number of townhouses permitted in a single block was six, however it was left off when the regulations were revised. The planning commission noticed this restriction was absent and began reviewing other similar communities and existing developments to decide what would best work for the town.

7:37 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Reier moves to amend the town development regulations to restrict the number of townhouses permitted in Bel Air and introduce the ordinance dealing with the issue.

7:31 p.m.: The board recognizes Bel Air resident and Ravens cheerleader, Angela Palmere.

7:30 p.m.: The meeting is called to order by de facto mayor Edward Hopkins.


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