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Bel Air residents unhappy with pending community of new homes

In many cases, expanded real estate development is a good thing: it often comes with expanded job opportunities, an expanded tax base and other benefits. However, from time to time, some people feel the need to resort to real estate litigation in order to stop development from happening.

Just such a situation might be unfolding in Bel Air surrounding a housing development. A public hearing of the Harford County Development Advisory Committee last week showed that many residents of the Richardson's Legacy development are concerned with a development that would add another 224 homes nearby.

One of the main worries of the residents about the Magness Overlook community is that it will drive down the value of homes in the Richardson's Legacy development. Homes in Richardson's Legacy are currently selling for anywhere from about $500,000 to $650,000. Homes in the Magness Overlook development, which would connect to the older development, are likely to be sold for about half that much.

Another worry is that a large number of new homes will undermine the sense of community. The Richardson's Legacy development has just 42 homes, and residents there say they can look out for one another's children due to the relatively small size. That wouldn't be possible, they say, if hundreds more homes were added.

It remains to be seen if any litigation will arise from the dispute. The development has actually been approved already, back in 2011; the hearing last week was to present revisions to make the project more environmentally friendly. Considering the public opposition, however, developers may want to revise their plans yet again to forestall a possible lawsuit.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Bel Air development plans draw fire from residents of adjacent new development," Erika Butler, Jan. 18, 2013

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