Town Officials, Public Talk Group Homes

A public hearing, in which no one spoke, was held on proposed development regulation changes relating to group homes.

A will narrow the definition of families permitted under one roof to include only nonprofit group recovery homes.

A public hearing was held and after no one came forward to give input, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the ammendment.

Previous development regulations permitted all group recovery homes as long as they include eight people or fewer. With this number of people, the group home qualifies as a family under the current law.

The ordinance amended Bel Air development regulations and limits these residential treatment facilities not only by number, but also to include only nonprofit, private facilities. For-profit facilities are no longer be permitted in town.

Town officials say the proposed change is designed to make town regluations the same as those at the state level.

During the past few months, residents have consistently made appearances at town meetings to encourage town officials to take action and within a narrow radius in town.

The concerns surrounding group homes include a diminished small town feel where people know their neighbors and a negative impact to property values.

While town officials have said the is not related to these concerns, it could potentially impact the issue, although in what ways remains unclear.

told Patch in June that he is not sure how many—if any—of the approximately seven group homes in Bel Air are for-profit organizations.

8:25 p.m.: Meeting is adjourned.

8:24 p.m.: Robert Reier wished a happy birthday to Director of Administration, Joyce Oliver.

8:24 p.m.: The town public works department reached out to the victims of the

8:22 p.m.: Hopkins said Bel Air showed their preparedness on response to recent heat, derecho and thunderstorms. “It certainly pays to have those things in the back of our minds,” Hopkins said.

8:20 p.m.: Carey reminded residents of the July 19 meeting on the proposed Walmart in the Emmorton/Bel Air area. “It’s a project I think could have a large impact on the town of Bel Air,” Carey said.

8:20 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Preston said the July 4th parade was well done.

8:20 p.m.: “It is a really, really good movie and I can’t wait,” said Burdette of the upcoming showing of Despicable Me.

8:19 p.m.: Burdette thanks the downtown alliance for movies on Friday nights. ”It’s just amazing the amount of people that are out on that lawn,” she said. “This is such a great event for families.”

8:17 p.m.: Smith said he can see the pipe, and although he is not an expert, believes that could be a sign the pipe needs replacing. Smith also said he and local mothers are concerned about installing a stream or “mud puddle” at the park based on safety of local children.

8:17 p.m.: Schlehr said a tree route had damaged the pipe.

8:16 p.m.: Tim Smith 911 Lynchwood Road comes forward for public comment. Smith said the pipe underneath Plumtree Park is in need of repair.

8:12 p.m.: Carey moves to approve contracts for the BB&T Bank Property with Santos Construction for about $11,000 for curb and gutter work on site and with American Asphalt for $26,557 to pave the site. Neither were bid out with “good reason,” Schlehr said.

8:12 p.m.: All vote in favor of the contract.

8:08 p.m.: Commissioner Reier moves to award a contract of $25,465 to replace a public works pick up truck. The vehicle is deteriorating due to salt damage. The town has been afforded an opportunity to piggyback on the state’s proposal. Staff recommends the town approve the contract with Apple Ford for a Ford F-350 Pickup truck.

8:07 p.m.: Culvert Utility Easement on the Plumtree Square Condominium property is up for discussion. The condominium council approved the easement and all commissioners vote in favor of the easement.

8:07 p.m.: The easement is approved by unanimous vote.

8:05 p.m.: The town staff has approved replacement of drainage that will include moving part of the sewer main into the property of Michael J. Lanahan. Lanahan, who resides in a townhouse in the Plumtree courts approves the easement. His property has flooded in the past and the update should benefit him.

8:05 p.m.: Culvert Utility Easement on the Lanahan property is up for discussion.

8:04 p.m.: All vote in favor of approving the contract.

8:03 p.m.: Staff recommends the board approve the contract for $7,600 to clean the ducts. The low bid was from a company the Department of Public Works did not feel comfortable could complete the work.

8:02 p.m.: A motion to award a contract to clean air ducts at town hall is introduced.

8:01 p.m.: All vote in favor and the motion carries.

7:59 p.m.: Carey makes a motion on a resolution endorsing application for a community legacy grant. Director of Economic Development Trish Heidenreich says her department plans to apply for a grant to cover phase two of the armory garage marketplace project.

7:59 p.m.: Carey said he is glad to see this positive report given how bleak the state of school capacity was several years ago.

7:58 p.m.: “All public schools currently serving the Bel Air area are operating at less than 110 percent of operation capacity,” Small said. Projections show the schools should not meet and exceed 110 percent within the next five years and the town is in good shape. Small said Red Pump Elementary is likely a contributing factor.

7:57 p.m.: A resolution accepting the 2011 Harford County Annual Growth report is introduced.

7:56 p.m.: All vote in favor and the motion carries.

7:56 p.m.: “I believe the message board will be very useful for all the events we have going on in town,” Burdette said.

7:55 p.m.: There is a one-year warranty on the trailer.

7:54 p.m.: The old trailer still operates and another town is interested in purchasing it for $2500. Both the old and new trailers are solar powered.

7:52 p.m.: The current speed trailer is due to be replaced and last year Bel Air Police spent $13,000 keeping it operational.  The new trailer will also incorporate a signboard for messaging such as “school zone.” It raises awareness of driver speeds before law enforcement moves into neighborhoods to target enforcement in an area.

7:52 p.m.: Commissioner Susan Burdette moves to award bid of $15,780 for the purchase of a speed awareness trailer.

7:51 p.m.: Robert Reier moves for the reappointment of Paul Envies to the Historic Preservation Commission. Hopkins and Reier said Envies has been a solid member of the commission. All vote in favor of the reappointment.

7:50 p.m.: Commissioner Robert Preston moves to reappoint members to the board of appeals. All vote in favor and the motion carries.

7:50 p.m.: The hearing is closed and Commissioner David Carey moves to approve the ordinance. All vote in favor and the motion carries.

7:49 p.m.: Mayor Edward Hopkins calls for public then commissioner comments and there are none.

7:49 p.m.: The definition of non-profit will be deferred to the current state definition.

7:48 p.m.: For profit organizations are not deemed harmonious with residential development as the state defines it, Small said.

7:47 p.m.: The proposed amendment to the town development regulations would limit the group home family definition to exclude for-profit organizations.

7:46 p.m.: The annotated code of Maryland says a private group home does not include for-profit group homes as a permitted use.

7:45 p.m.: The current definition of family includes the nuclear family, up to three adults maintaining a household together and the third definition coevers eighty people in recovery for alcohol, drugs or mental disorder.

7:44 p.m.: “The subject of group homes has been revisited several times,” Town Planner Kevin Small said during the introduction of pubic hearing on an ordinance amending development regulations.

7:43 p.m.: After being recognized the team exits for a group photo.

7:28 p.m.: The Hickory Hornets are called to the podium for recognition.

7:27 p.m.: The meeting is called to order.


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