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The Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners will receive an annual report from the town Planning Commission and will hold a public hearing on midyear budget amendments at this Monday’s town meeting.

During a work session Tuesday afternoon, Planning Director Carol Deibel said state law now requires the town board to formally accept the planning commission’s report.

The town is also, for the first time, required to list all ordinances and resolutions from last year that were in any way related to the state’s “smart growth” plan, she said.

In general, “our development activity is down, and I think that’s true pretty much everywhere,” she said.

The report also compares development between 2008 and 2009, shows all zoning activity, describes an implementation plan for the comprehensive zoning plan and features a map of development over time.

The report also gives the latest school utilization statistics for the town and county and a section devoted to transportation management issues. Other parts address historic preservation and land use.

Mayor Dave Carey said looking at the town 10 years ago makes one realize how much has changed.

“You forget, even in years where there’s not a lot happening ... it really is interesting to see how the town changes,” he said. Deibel said, “I think it’s very helpful and it does create a history of development in the town.”

Sewer rate increase

Also on the agenda for Monday’s town meeting, the commissioners will acknowledge an addendum to its 1988 county bulk sewer rate to the town.

Public Works Director Randy Robertson said the town received a new sewer user charge from the county, to cover collection and treatment of the town’s sewage.

The new bulk rate will be $2.81 per thousand gallons, more than the previous rate of $2.70, but Robertson said residents will not be affected for the time being.

“While we are getting an increase of 11 cents, it will not be reflected in any user rate,” he said.

Finance director Lisa Moody added the town is trying to “hold the line” on the sewer user rate paid by residents and businesses.

Town administrator Chris Schlehr said with any luck, the rate could even decrease next year.

“It’s happened before,” he said.

Group home update

During Tuesday’s work session, Carey commented on a letter recently sent from the Attorney General’s office to state Del. B. Daniel Riley advising that creating zoning standards for group homes would be illegal.

Bel Air’s commissioners have been urging the Harford County delegation to pass legislation regulating the density of group homes. Delegates were considering such a bill for the first time this year, but with the Attorney General’s warning led them to back off for now.

“At least we know we have taken this as far as we can. We actually got a bill drafted and had the lawyer look at it,” Carey said.

Commissioner Terry Hanley said the effort for state authority can be resurrected again next year, but Carey sounded less confident, saying the federal law would have to change for it to work.

Carey also said the town is looking into publishing its notices online instead of in The Aegis.

The town would refer newspaper readers to the town Web site, instead of listing the full notice there, as the county already does.

“We had a lot of interest in that,” Carey said. “People don’t learn what’s going on in town by reading the legal notices.”

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Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic

Maryland’s 24 school superintendents voted unanimously Friday to request that state health officials create clear benchmarks for deciding when students could safely return to school buildings.

The leaders of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates decried as “truly shocking” a six-figure severance package received by Gov. Larry Hogan’s new chief of staff after the official voluntarily left an independent state agency he was running.

Amira Jennings, 17, who dreamed of opening up her own beauty salon one day and loved helping her family, was killed by a hit-and-run driver Thursday morning.

Local contractors say any number of issues with customer-owned equipment could have led to Monday's blast, which killed two.

The Orioles finished a 6-2 victory that extended their winning streak to six games and completed a sweep over the reigning World Series champions that they had waited nearly a week to make official.

August’s case numbers are down from the last two weeks of July, when Maryland averaged 855 new COVID-19 cases a day.

While nearly seven in 10 Maryland households have answered their census questionnaire for the once-in-a-decade tally, that still leaves more than 800,000 that have not. And there are neighborhoods in Baltimore where more than half the residents are still officially uncounted.

Many businesses have been reopening across the country during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including restaurants, bars, malls and gyms. But the reopening of schools has become a particular source of stress for teachers and staff as well as parents and guardians of school-aged children. Uncertainty and safety concerns have prompted many to look into “pandemic pods” — here’s what to know about this concept, including how one could look as well as its pros and cons. (Kaitlin Miller, The Active Times)

Just two weeks into the month, the Baltimore region has already seen far more rain than average for August.

Officers were called at about 10 a.m. to the area of West Ridgely Road and Francke Avenue, where a passenger who had been asleep on a Maryland Transit Administration bus woke up, and started shouting he would shoot people, said police spokesman Kevin Gay.

Family members of Shaliqua Watson, 21, remember her life after she was fatally shot on Saturday, Aug. 8.

The Ravens might be the best team in the NFL, but the competition ramps up in the playoffs. That’s when special teams become even more important, and could be the difference between going to the Super Bowl or going home.

Baltimore County warned that people may be removed from Recreation and Parks property for failure to adhere to the guidelines.

Midshipman Nixon Keago will serve 25 years after a members panel found him guilty of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, obstruction of justice and burglary.

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that Baltimore Police detectives coerced false statements and manufactured a narrative that implicated the three youths to the crime.

Maryland has opened a statewide hotline to report potential violations of executive orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, contrasting Gov. Larry Hogan’s previous statements that local jurisdictions should take more control over enforcing the orders.

Lonnie Herriott, 61, who died Monday in a gas explosion in Baltimore is remembered as resilient and hardworking. “She loved people and she would help anybody who needed help,” her mother said.


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