What do hermaphroditic amphibians, a moonlighting comedian, and a symbolically-snapped ear of corn have in common?
Because no sane person could ever have guessed, I’ll just come out with it: each was involved in the Harford County Council’s Comprehensive Rezoning public hearing held Thursday evening at North Harford High School.
Perhaps one-third of the 100-or-so attendees addressed the county council during what was the third and final public hearing on the Comprehensive Rezoning review.
– In total, 34 people spoke = 26 were in opposition to upzoning requests and 8 supported upzoning requests.
– The meeting ran from 6:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.
– County Council President Billy Boniface announced the county council would introduce its amendments during the August 4 council meeting and expected to vote on the Comprehensive Rezoning during its August 11 session.
– A Darlington man produced a dried ear of corn from a brown paper bag and symbolically snapped it in half as he held it aloft. He then had to explain that the freshly cleaved corn was intended to represent the broken continuity in farming and food production if agriculture isn’t preserved. Boniface asked him from whose farm he swiped the ear.
– A Jarrettsville woman said Harford County has a major water problem looming. She claims to have found a chemical (Atrophine?) in her well water which “causes frogs to be born both ways.” She asserts she even had a sheep born on her farm with both male and female reproductive organs. There was a brief side story about how the hermaphroditic sheep was unstable and was eventually chased off by a dog. After some research, she learned humans can also suffer this same birth defect. She’s also found lead and other contaminants in her water and, therefore, generally opposes upzoning and development. The next speaker was her subdued husband, who said he supports his wife, but that she hadn’t left much else for him to add to the conversation.
– A 26-year-old man from Fallston, who told the council and audience that he works late nights at a local 7-Eleven, is a traveling comedian, and enjoys local sweet corn, complained of traffic problems in Fallston. He didn’t perform any tricks, but may have had one performed upon him – after his semi-prepared speech extended well beyond the 3-minute time allotment, Boniface asked him to please wrap it up. “You read my mind, Sir,” the young comic retorted.
– Attorney Jay Young threw his full support behind the council’s creation of a TDR program, not just because it might benefit some of his clients, but because he’s “been a proponent of the TDR my entire career.” Young pointed out the importance of needing agricultural areas to be upzoned to rural residential so they can accommodate development rights bought and transferred from farmland. “If you’re serious about the TDR program, you have to have a place for them to be received.” To go through a Comprehensive Rezoning without approving any such receiving areas would “be a stake in the heart of the TDR program.” Young went on to assert Fallston is the most logical place for these development rights to end up. “Fallston is not a viable farming community. I’m sorry for that, but it’s true.”
– The Range Manager at HP White Laboratories in Whiteford expressed a desire to work with local conservation groups opposed to the request for expanded Industrial zoning on the property. He said the property owner is willing to enter into a restrictive covenant preventing any use other than “standard ballistic test facility for technical and tactical testing.”
– A Whiteford woman opposed residential upzoning near a SuperFund site: “We’re a small, quiet village and we want to remain that way.”
– A representative from Frederick Ward Associates supported the residential upzoning of the Blake’s Legacy property off Red Pump Road and told the council and audience the property owners are looking to build 129 single-family homes (51 fewer than permitted by zoning) and would be agreeable to put a deed on the property restricting townhouse development on the site.
– A Dublin man opposed the HP White Laboratories requested industrial upzoning and said the site is surrounded by preserved agricultural land.
– A Fallston woman opposed the upzoning of all residential lands and was especially concerned with traffic in the Route 152 corridor: “We cannot turn the whole country into concrete.”
– A man representing the Greater Fallston Association asserted business zoning is inappropriate in the Upper Crossroads village district.
– A Fallston woman opposed agricultural to residential upzoning in Fallston.
– The representative of a deceased property owner asked if the council uphold his former client’s wish for developing his Laurel Bush Road property with “active adult” housing.
– A Darlington man saluted the council for implementing a TDR plan.
– A Fallston man asked the council to deny intense business zoning near the Stoneybrook development.
– A Darlington man urged the council to follow the Master Plan concerning upzoning requests in village districts.
– A Fallston woman opposed a residential to business upzoning in Upper Crossroads.
– A man supported a business upzoning near Stoneybrook and said he hopes to expand his commercial venture.
– A Darlington man was concerned about increased pavement upstream, which was leading to flooding downstream in Deer Creek and other watersheds. He was particularly concerned that HP White’s industrial upzoning request would allow for 90% of the site to be paved and impervious.
– A Fallston woman called the TDR program “ill-conceived” and warned of impending droughts. In 1999, it took her many months to get a well drilled and she had to shower in a neighbor’s house.
– A trio of Abingdon women opposed a small residential to business upzoning in their community. At least one feared the intrusion of an adult bookstore or tattoo parlor.
– A woman opposed residential upzoning in Fountain Green: “We’re becoming another Howard County.” A man would later support her opposition.
– A man living in Edward’s Manor and his neighbor didn’t want a through-street to accompany upzoning in the area.
– Attorney Mike Leaf supported the upzoning of several business properties on Bel Air Road, including the land on which once stood the former Dock of the Bay restaurant that burned to the ground and was never rebuilt.
– An Aberdeen man was against several residential upzoning requests on Routes 7 and 40.
– A contractor supported an upzoning request for a property owner who planned on building a hotel on the site. He said there is value in the short and long term construction jobs that will be created for the hotel construction.
– A Forest Hill man, who said his property has been in his family since 1842, complained of political corruption, traffic roundabouts, his 7 acres of tomatoes and exclaimed that he could never have imaged, decades ago, that condominiums would be built in Forest Hill.
– A Cardiff woman was opposed to all Whiteford upzoning requests.