Legislative Scorecard UPDATE February, 2020

View the lastest Harford County Council legislative “scorecard” provided by Friends of Harford. Stay tuned for updates on land use legislation and track how your County Council representative voted! 

NEW Proposed Legislation:

  • Bill 20-001 Commercial Amusement and Recreation
  • Sponsor: Council President Vincenti for County Executive Glassman
  • Summary: Amends the Zoning Code adding COMMERCIAL AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION as a Permitted Use in the R4 Zoning District, subject to specified requirements regarding yard buffers, hours of operation, and allowable lighting sources. Plus, amendment introduced will increase hours of operation to 8 AM to 10 PM daily.

Read Bill Here

This bill is needed to support Resolution 001-20; a $1 sale of 25 acres Washington Court Surplus Property to Coppermine Fieldhouse, LLC; requiring the owning company to use land as an athletic field
facility for 20 years.  This is not currently allowed in the R4 Zones. Read Resolution HERE.

Friends of Harford Opinion: Legislation should not be enacted County-wide for one company, owner or project. Rather, a use not permitted in a zoning district may be granted via a Special Exception as are Country and Swim Clubs, and Assembly Halls for example in R4.   

Public Hearings: 2/4/20 6:15 pm 

Friends of Harford will update the scorecard after the vote. 

Harford County Legislative SCORECARD

Zoning Changes Update & New Scorecard

Friends of Harford News and Views
June, 2019

Bill 19-016 – Zoning Code Changes- Public Hearing Input- June 4, 2019

Recently, Friends of Harford President, Stephanie Flasch provided public input on Bill 19-016 (Zoning Code Changes) See full text of comments here. 

See full text of Bill 19-016 HERE. 

There is still time for citizens to send their comments to the County Council.
Call or email the County Council at (410) 638-3343 or council@harfordcountymd.gov 

Friends of Harford tracks the voting records for land use legislation via the SCORECARD. The Friends of Harford scorecard will be updated with amendments and voting record for land use legislation. 

Scorecard

Why We Asked

Friends of Harford- Why we asked the Candidates these questions:

Unless you’ve been personally affected by a County land use decision, you may be wondering why we asked these particular questions of local candidates.  The following links provide reasons for the questions asked.

View the candidate responses HERE. 

Reasons we asked the County Executive Candidates these questions

Reasons we asked the County Council Candidates these questions

Election 2018- Voting Info

Have you registered and reviewed the candidates for the 2018 GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY?

Land use decisions are made locally. In anticipation of the upcoming election, Friends of Harford asked Harford County Candidates for County Executive and County Council questions about land use issues.

Link to responses HERE.

THE 2018 GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY

2018 Harford County Candidate Questions Posted- Responses Due April 15th

Friends of Harford, Inc focuses on Harford’s land use issues, working for a fair balance between the rights of those wanting to develop a property and the rights of neighbors who might be impacted by that development. 

Land use is controlled by the County Executive and County Council members.  In anticipation of the upcoming election, Friends of Harford asks candidates to please respond to the posted questions so we may understand your perspectives and reasoning on these issues.

We will post your responses on our website and notify our members that they are available.

Responses are due back by April 15, 2018. 

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in keeping Harford County citizens aware and informed of your goals and objectives.

Harford County Executive Questions Due April 15th

Harford County Council Questions Due April 15th

 

Transparency & Public Input

The latest example of Harford County enacting legislation without full open and transparent public input was the County Council’s approval (6-1) of the HarfordNEXT Master Plan on June 21st 2016.

The public was allowed to comment on the plan on June 7th.  However, 16 amendments were made on June 14th, 15 were presented by Councilman Mike Perrone, and 1 amendment was provided by the County Executive.  Private letters, phone calls and emails were admissible for comment about the bill and the amendments provided, however no public speeches or comments about the bill or its amendments were allowed during the subsequent Council meetings on the 7th, 14th or 21st by the Council decree as provided by Council President Slutzky with approval by the 6 Councilmen.

On June 21st, County Council members and the County Executive presented a further 34 amendments.  The public was not allowed to view any of the amendments, nor could they comment on them.  Some of the amendments created major changes in the bill.

That evening, the Council voted on each amendment and then voted for passage of the bill.  Again, that evening, no citizen was able to speak publicly about the bill, the amendments or the vote.  The Council then adjourned for the summer allowing only 2 sessions until September.

Under the County Code, Chapter 4: Administration of Government, Section 4-19 Sessions of Council, A., it states that “such additional days as the Council may determine, are designated as legislative sessions days for the enactment of legislation”.  It further states that no more than 45 sessions may occur during one year.  To date, 21 sessions have occurred, leaving ample opportunity for special sessions to listen to citizen comments concerning amendments prior to voting on legislation.

We believe this right of public input needs to be expanded to allow comment on all amendments.  The habit of springing a change at the last minute without warning and without comment is unwarranted.

The Comprehensive Rezoning legislation will be forthcoming. This can affect every single piece of property and could impact every Harford County citizen in some manner, be it good or bad. The County Council should require adequate time for public comment before, during and after introduction of legislation and its amendments.  The Council needs to plan ahead and be ready for legislation, not wait until the eleventh hour.