Virtual Harford County Government Hearings & Participation During COVID

Harford County Government published the following links on its website for information on hearing dates, how to participate virtually and where to watch County Council meetings and Zoning hearings. See Below

FOH Scorecard June, 2020 UPDATE

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! 

Highlights

County Executive VETOES Bill 20-005 and Council Overturns Veto with Shrodes Dissenting

Bill 20-005 Claims settlement information

Sponsors: Councilman Robert Wagner and Andre Johnson

Requires the Administration to notify the County Council of any legal claims/lawsuit settlements over $100,000 from any fund to be reviewed and approved.

Currently only those claims paid out by the Self- Insurance fund needs review and approval by the Council.

[Amended on 4/21/20 to require Administration to deliver written report to the County Council every 6 months and include all information pertinent to claims or lawsuits. Amendment withdrawn 5/5/20.]

The Council may not disclose information until there is public notice. This remains unchanged from original bill 94-032.  More Information

Friends of Harford Legislative Scorecard 

 

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

Legislative Scorecard UPDATE December, 2019

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! 

 

Harford County land use legislation “scorecard”
provided by Friends of Harford

Auston Pyrolysis Decision

The Harford County Circuit Court upheld the decision in Case 5886 to deny the tire pyrolysis operation by Auston Transfer and Processing on 6 acres in Joppa off Route 7. 

The property, Auston Transfer, used for shredding and recycling scrap tires requested a new system to incinerate tires within a closed chamber.  The property is zoned CI- Commercial Industrial.  Planning & Zoning approved the use in this zoning category. 

Within the time frame allowed, two Joppa citizens appealed the determination made by the Director and asked that the matter be reviewed by the County’s Hearing Examiner.  They were assisted by the People’s Counsel.  That decision was appealed because it considered the determination of the Planning and Zoning Director to allow this use in CI, was improper and that the pyrolysis system belonged in GI-General Industrial zoning.

As of this decision, the Hearing Examiner, County Council and now the Circuit Court all agree that the Director of Planning & Zoning overreached his authority and made a “legal error” in deciding to allow this use in CI. 

In addition, the Circuit Court added that material and information which is not in the Zoning Code itself, should be made available to the public.  In this case it was the Industrial Codes used by the Department of Planning & Zoning. 

Why is this relevant?

Friends of Harford is sharing news of this decision because it is an example of how the system is supposed to work. The community had concerns about the potential for negative effects to the environment and of the proximity of the tire burning near their homes. At each level, the facts were brought to light and the decision was made not to allow this type of facility in a Commercial Industrial Zoning. Had the tire pyrolysis plant been allowed in CI, it would have set precedent for future types of facilities in CI zoning.

 

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

 

Special Exceptions in the Zoning Code

Friends of Harford News and Views
February, 2018

Special Exceptions
 
The Zoning Code tells us what we may do with our property. Build a house? 7 houses? A restaurant? A gas station? We read the code to find out what uses are automatically permitted, but there are exceptions to the rule. If the code shows a use as a special exception, it may be approved with certain extra conditions to protect the neighbors, or it may not be approved at all. That use must also be compatible with what is already allowed in the neighborhood.
 
A Special Exception is unique in that neighbors can object to the proposed site plan during a required, formal hearing. The public may be represented for free if the People’s Counsel agrees to represent the interests of the public.
 
The overriding rule for a Special Exception is if it causes too much harm to the neighbors, and changing the site plan won’t stop the harm, it should not be approved.

In all there are 10 requirements** for approval of a Special Exception. So for example, the code states one may build a sawmill in CI (Commercial Industrial) or GI (General Industrial) zoned properties, but one must ask for a Special Exception for a sawmill on an AG (Agricultural) zoned property.

A Hearing Examiner decides whether the request is approved or denied for that plan at that particular location. The decision may be appealed to the County Council which sits as the Board of Appeals.
 
1.  Zoning Code, Article IX, Special Exceptions page 315
     
 2.  Friends of Harford Newsletter-Public Participation for Special Exception
 
**  Special Exceptions consider the effects of the proposed site plan on: the number of people living or working in the area; traffic conditions; orderly growth of the neighborhood and any fiscal impact the County may have because of the approval;  the effect of odors, gas, smoke, fumes, vibration, glare and noise on the surrounding properties; if there is adequate police, fire, water, sewer or garbage services; if the development is consistent with good planning; any harm to existing structures nearby such as churches, schools, etc.; environmental impact or opportunities for recreation or harm to sensitive land; the preservation of cultural and historic buildings or places.