A proposed Fallston, Maryland, development faces a variety of hurdles on its way to the finish line. In addition to changing the name of the entire development, the developer has to successfully navigate new laws pertaining to septic systems. Some worry that the development will set a regrettable precedent for septic systems in new, rural developments.

  • A proposed development in Fallston, MD, is on its way to approval from a collection of government entities.
  • The developers have already changed the name of the development at the request of emergency services.
  • Neighbors have a variety of concerns about safety and the environment, while some official worry about new septic system rules.

What’s in a name? A lot, if you work in emergency services.

At about the 1600 block of Laurel Brook Road near Gunpowder Falls State Park in Fallston, Md., sits a roughly 52-acre parcel owned by  TOR Laurel Grove LLC.

The owners seek to develop the parcel into 25 homesites. Of course, new subdivisions take years to plan and build. There are government and private entities to appease. Laws to navigate. Utilities to plan. And, in this day and age of scarce developable parcels, neighbors to win over.

And the devil is truly in the details, and can intervene when least expected.

Above and below ground.

One would think that the LLC that owns the parcel would give it a meaningful name, such as, well, naming it after itself? The LLC is formed for a singular purpose, right? Well, it could be a matter of a lack of market research, or just “one of those things,” but when department of emergency operations weighed in on the development, they asked for a name change.

Apparently, the name of the subdivision was changed from Laurel Grove to Verdant Estates so as not to create confusion with many other developments in Harford that use some version of the name “laurel.”

Okay, one government entity appeased.

Fallston development awaiting public feedback

The developer sits in wait for their site plan’s review of the parcel, which is near Gunpowder Falls State Park in Fallston. The developer is due to go before the Harford County Development Advisory Committee in the second week of January.

This will be a big one for the LLC. According to the Baltimore Sun, all of county and state agencies who review development plans, such as public works, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and the health department, will send representatives to express any concerns with the plan.

The meeting is the opportunity for those public bodies to propose changes, too. The public is welcome to weigh in as well.

What’s key about this particular property though is what’s under the ground, and not what the street signs say. The Fallston development is zoned for minimum lot sizes of two acres. Each lot will have a well and septic system.

This is the first new subdivision in county that’s outside the regular development boundaries that’s in the works since a prohibitive 2012 state law. That law, reports the Sun, made it tougher to develop this type of project in the most rural areas. The purpose of the law is designed to curb development on individual septic systems.

But, aside from the name change, which necessitated name changes within other aspects of the development, the project has been gliding through other approvals, including those related to developments with septic systems. But, this particular project, by nature of being first under the new law, concerns development will be encouraged on septic systems.

And, residents remain concerned that the Fallston development will have only one road for access within it, at leading up to it. The one road that serves the 25 homes is to be called – you guessed it – Verdant Way, which is to end in a cul-de-sac.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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