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Kevin Small – A Big Influence in Bel Air

August 2011

Tucked away in a nondescript building behind the pond and pool at Bynum Run Park are the offices of the Town of Bel Air’s Department of Planning and Community Development and its newly appointed director of planning, Kevin Small. Small’s office is as unadorned as the building’s exterior with furniture and supplies left behind from wholesale nfl jerseys his predecessor who worked for the town for 26 years. As he clears away maps and cheap jerseys drawings to sit wholesale jerseys at the conference table, Small wonders aloud if he would rearrange the space he now occupies after he has settled into his new position.

“Since I just started, I won’t be changing much of anything for awhile – including the office. Carol (Deibel, former director of planning) left a great roadmap for me to get started with, so I’ll concentrate on those projects first. My own space will have to wait,” says Small.

Small began his career after earning his degree in landscape architecture from Kansas State University in 1987. Following a career move of an admired professor, he took up residency in Maryland and employment with Land Design Research, a premier landscape architecture and planning company started by former employees of The Rouse Company responsible for the famous planned community of Columbia.

Learning from some of the best planners and designers in the industry aptly prepared Small for his next job The at Frederick Ward Associates where he stayed for over 17 years. Frederick Ward Associates started in Bel Air in 1955 and evolved from a simple civil engineering company to a full service and sophisticated design and technical firm with landscape architecture, environmental planning and GPS surveying specialties. When Small joined FWA in 1993, he was assigned project responsibilities with specific concentration in green design, school facilities and development feasibility analysis.

As a planning coordinator at FWA, Small led projects for developers by examining building codes for compliance, consulting with traffic engineers and environmental architects, and preparing impact testimony for zoning and development hearings. His tenure at FWA was punctuated with volunteer work on the Design Committee for the Bel Air Downtown Alliance where he worked closely with Scott Walker and the Town of Bel Air. Small also graduated from the Harford Leadership Academy, a program held annually and supported by the Harford Community College and the Harford County Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years. This proximity to the private-public relationship of wholesale jerseys China Bel Air and its supporting organizations exposed Small to the intricacies and opportunities that working for the Town of Bel Air would hold.

“Bel Air’s master plan carries the town into 2015, and there are several unfinished projects that I want to see to fruition,” Small says. “Once I’m comfortable that they are progressing as planned, I will start developing my own.”

Bel Air gives the impression that it is fait accompli. There is seemingly nowhere to build and little to no available land to annex. However, planning and architecture design does not just include new development. It also encompasses retro fitting, redevelopment and improvement. Bel Air may only encompass 2.9 square miles of land, but it contains seven public parks, all of the county government offices, the only enclosed mall, the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center campus and nearly 11,000 residents within its borders.

As a student of architecture and design, Small has seen the shift from densely Website populated cities to isolated neighborhoods in the suburbs, back to the desire for a more vibrant town center. Enclosed malls and remote strip centers are making way for “Main Streets” and mixed use collaborations.

“Our residents want businesses, entertainment and homes to be in the same area. They want a pedestrian and bike-friendly street design where sidewalks connect. They understand that parking is essential to attracting people to shopping districts. They just want to be assured that these work and exist in harmony,” Small states.

Bel Air’s received its “Main Street” designation from the State of Maryland in 2001. This designation is reflects Bel Air’s commitment to its downtown in the areas of improving economy and promotion, improving and maintaining appearance and image, rehabilitating historic structures, and investing in long term planning. In 2008, the Maryland’s Main Street program added, “Clean, Safe, and Green” to its criteria, something that Small says was already part of Bel Air’s plan.

“Although most construction in Bel Air is complete, there are plenty of opportunities to retro-fit for a greener environmental impact and sustainability: Better storm water management to mitigate damage to the Chesapeake Bay, the planting of additional trees and gardens, developing small parks like we did at the Armory, porous pavers, green roofs, LED lighting, and even the addition of bike racks Info around town to encourage bike riding instead of driving. All these things work together to make Bel Air a better place to live and visit.”

The Town of Bel Air also earned videos its certification as a Maryland Arts & Entertainment District in December 2010, one of 18 in Maryland. This designation of being a “hub of culture and creativity” allows the town to acquire grant money to help in developing art and cultural programs.

“One of the first projects we’re working on,” Small said, “is to add more art in public spaces. Since Bel Air residents expressed an interest in more bike racks, we’re looking at the possibility of combining those two desires into one wholesale jerseys – bike racks that are functional and artful.”

Many of Small’s future projects may be already planned, but he’s been at the job long enough to set some personal goals himself.

“I would love to see the Ma & Pa Trail connect and be complete. I’m optimistic that we will find a way to make that happen. I also want to work with Joann Blewett [Executive Director of Harford Habit for Humanity] to bring a Habitat house project to Bel Air. Bel Air is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I would be proud in helping give that opportunity to someone who deserves it.” I95