From Harford County Councilman Mike Perrone Jr.:
I’d like to solicit your opinion on something… as you probably know, the County Executive and our Planning and Zoning Department have been working on HarfordNEXT (our upcoming Master Plan Update), which was made available for public comment on February 8. An important change has been proposed for the Joppa area, and I want to solicit the community’s feedback on the change.
This Plan, like others before it, uses land use intensity categories that are supposed to guide the actual zoning and re-zoning of land. It is important to note it is the zoning itself that has the force of law; the Plan behind the zoning is nothing more than a plan.
Today, the entire area bounded by Route 40 to the north, Route 152 to the East, Trimble Road to the south, and Joppa Road to the west, has a low-intensity classification, and relatively light intensity residential zoning. The draft version of HarfordNEXT – as you can see on page 162 – proposes an upgrade to medium density for much of this area.
It is worth noting that there are three housing developments on the books for this area; all of which were approved over ten years ago. The first is Rogers Ford which is already underway across from Magnolia Elementary School. The second would enter from Route 152 near where Sugar Hill Road is today, and the third would enter from Trimble Road between the Williams Mobile Home Park and Minglewood Lane. These three projects total 593 single family home lots, and the only thing that has stopped them from being built are market conditions.
Given the zoning that is in place today, single family homes are the only type of dwelling units that could be built in this area. A change to medium-density classification could open the door to townhouses or other denser types of land uses.
Before I go any further, I think it needs to be said (even if this doesn’t score me any political points) that given our system of private property rights, communities generally don’t get a say in what someone else does with their private property. But because we do recognize that there is a point beyond which someone’s use of their property might have too adverse an impact on someone else’s use of theirs, we’ve come up with zoning laws and the plans that guide them to try to strike some kind of balance. When zoning within a community stands to change, the community should have input into whether or not the change happens.
If you have an opinion on this matter, please share it with me; I hope to receive as much feedback as possible before I decide on what position I want to take on this matter. Thank you!