Development on I-95 Dominates County Council Meeting

James Run took center stage at the Harford County Council meeting on Oct. 16.

Below is a recap of the discussion before the Harford County Council about James Run, a proposed development south of Bel Air on I-95 at MD Route 543.

10:25 p.m. The public hearing lasted until approximately 9 p.m. and included both supporters and opponents of the project.

8:13 p.m. The chair of the land use subcommittee is testifying on behalf of TIFs (tax-increment financing), the special tax breaks that the developers of the James Run project are seeking. "Our land use subcommittee has studied a number of locations and projects for a university research park," he said, and this could be a good location to serve APG endeavors.

8:05 p.m. Another citizen said she wasn't convinced of the credibility of the developers requesting tax breaks to build James Run, a mixed-use project on I-95 south of Bel Air. A woman from Friends of Harford said there hadn't been a market study presented and that job calculations were based on assumptions. "We really don't know what's going to be here because even the [information in the application] contradicts itself," she said. "The county does not benefit from this project....We have a problem here...The James Run project...wants tens of millions of taxpayer dollars...[that] will help James Run unfairly compete with other local businesses..."

7:50 p.m. A citizen from Fallston testified that she didn't trust the LLCs involved in the James Run project, who have not been named, and wasn't convinced they were clear in their plans. She encouraged the council to vote for "good business." Developer Kevin Carney, who plans to build lodging houses at James Run, said "as a single developer of a 14-acre piece of the whole parcel, [I] could not afford [to build] but my partners and I can afford the special tax, which is estimated to be about one-third of the cost," Carney said. Of James Run, he added: "It will be the crown jewel of Harford County."

7:38 p.m. The council has opened the floor for the public hearing on James Run, a development project on I-95 south of Bel Air. According to the council administrator, 31 people have signed up to testify on the issue of James Run. The first to testify is an executive from the Peterson Companies. "We have a track record in the region of building high-end retail projects," said the representative, citing Peterson's success in Silver Spring and National Harbor.

7:20 p.m. "We've had hours and hours of meetings on the subject," Councilman Chad Shrodes said of James Run. Now the council is going on another hour on the subject, as James Run has been the council's focus for much of its Oct. 16 meeting so far.

6:40 p.m. Dozens of people are wearing "Support James Run" t-shirts in the audience here at Council Chambers (212 S. Bond St.) in Bel Air. The room is packed. James Run is a mixed-use development in the planning phases south of Bel Air, whose developers are asking for specific tax-incremental financing. Opponents are concerned that tax dollars should not go toward financing private development. Read more about the issue on ExploreHarford.com.

6:30 p.m. Welcome to our City Council live blog, where we will be updating the news coming from the County Council Chambers at it happens.

Check out our council meeting preview, which includes a PDF of the agenda.

harry kitt October 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I live on 543 very near to the James Run project. In no way do we need something like that near us. Traffic is bad to begin with. The trucks going down the road that pound the pavement has acually cracked our foundation in many places. There is so much development going on at Rt. 7 that the tax payers are paying for that i don't think we can afford to continue. Remember, with this build will be, road expantion, water and sewer, traffic lights, water run off and lots of other things we as tax payers are going to pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!! Stop bleeding harford county tax payers!! I pay $2600.00 in property tax alone. My house is a little bigger than an average two car garage. Harford County, STOP HURTING OUR RESIDENTS!!
Penelope Patch October 21, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Harry, That would be hard for them to do. They think they know best what is good for us. I "feel your pain," and wish that folks here would wise up and stop electing these whack jobs.
Christopher Kidwell October 21, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I think you are joking about that extremely high tax rate. The ENTIRE property tax for the landlord who owns the land in the trailer park where i live is 4K a year. That's for enough land to put 20 single-wide trailers on. Actually, it's more split between 10 double wides and 10 single wides with a HUGE field in my backyard. If you are paying 2.6K a year on property for a home that is as small as you say it is, you should go and demand a property tax update. Most likely, you are still paying the rates from when the housing market were flying super-high during the Bush years.
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