From Friends of Harford:
Friends of Harford believes Bill 15-027 (Fallston Commercial Corridor Sewer Subdistrict) should be voted down. Its purpose is to “include additional properties within the Fallston Commercial Corridor Sewer Subdistrict”. The Bill expands the Fallston sewer subdistrict to add:
– some older residential properties whose septic systems may be failing, and
– a large parcel of Agricultural (AG) zoned land.
The first purpose is acceptable; the second is not. It sets bad precedent to allow AG land to hook up to public sewer.
This Bill bypasses the review processes of the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Review. While the intent of this Bill appears to be to provide public sewer to part of an older subdivision, for the first time it would also extend sewer to Agricultural zoned properties. We see this primarily as another back-door benefit to a developer, allowing him to commercialize agricultural land and setting precedent that could affect farmland throughout Harford.
Don’t violate the planning process
To date, agricultural lands outside the development envelope have been prevented from tying in to county sewer systems, protecting them from development. For the first time, Bill 15-027 will set precedent by eliminating this protective policy, extending public sewer to agricultural land. Agricultural land is not supposed to be commercially developed and so does not need public sewer. Giving AG land sewer prepares it for intense use while avoiding all the proper reviews, including the ongoing revision of the Master Plan and the follow-on Comprehensive Zoning process. Decisions on whether or not agricultural lands should be developed must be made during these processes, not now via this Bill.
Not the way to help existing residents
The residential properties listed in this Bill are the western half of Bagleys Venture subdivision, with the larger eastern half being across Route 152. The eastern homes are within the Development Envelope, the western homes are not. These homes were built in the early 1970’s and may indeed have septic concerns. We respect the residents of this subdivision and will support this Bill if, and only if, the Bill is revised to continue excluding sewer from AG-zoned land. There are ways to provide financial assistance to residents without giving AG lands sewer.
If helping this older subdivision is truly the intent of this Bill, then include only residential properties and help the entire subdivision by running the new sewer line along the east side of Route 152 (inside the Development Envelope), with a connection to the homes on the west side of Route 152.
Bill 15-027 deserves to fail unless it is amended to remove all agricultural lands the bill adds, including the split-zoned property. Please ask all County Council members to vote against Bill 15-027 (because all vote on any Bill). You can email everyone at once via http://www.friendsofharford.com/legislators.html . Public testimony (3 minutes per person) will be heard on Tuesday October 20 at 6:00pm in the County Council chambers. Remember to sign up to testify before the hearing starts, and that’s the deadline for emails too.