Harford County Council Rejects Proposal Limiting Apartment Construction In Business Districts


Credit: Peter Senzamici/Patch

HARFORD COUNTY - At Wednesday night's meeting of the Harford County Council, members dismissed a proposal from County Executive Bob Cassilly designed to regulate the proliferation of apartment constructions in specific neighborhoods.

Cassilly introduced bill 23-011, aiming to halt categorizing and utilizing "garden apartments" and "high-rise apartments" as retail or service lots within business districts. The proposed bill was drafted in response to community concerns over high-density housing in low-density areas such as Fallston, Benson, Forest Hill, and Hickory, where the existing infrastructure is not equipped to support these developments.

While the bill did not seek to halt apartment constructions completely, it aimed to ensure they were part of a well-planned mixed-use development scheme.

In recent years, Cassilly pointed out, the construction of apartments had led to a decline in the availability of zones intended for business and commercial purposes. "More than 188 acres of B-3 land, meant for supporting local small businesses, is threatened by potential high-density residential development," said Cassilly after the rejection of his bill.

Cassilly contended that apartments should be categorized for residential rather than retail, service, or business use. He added that they are better positioned away from arterial or major collector roads.

The language of the defeated bill specified that residential use in areas zoned B3 General Business District was generally contrary to the intended purpose of these zones and should typically be prohibited.

The legislation proposed by Cassilly would have allowed no more than 30 single high-rise apartment units per acre, with each parcel of land restricted to a maximum of 20 acres.

Following the decision, Cassilly expressed his gratitude towards Council members Giangiordano, Reilly, and Bennett for supporting the legislation and voiced his hopes for a reevaluation when the Council reconvenes in September after their summer recess.

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