Sometimes I ask myself "Why do I care?"
I know Royal Farm wants to expand a gas station on Route 152 in an area without public water and sewer. Gas stations leak dangerous chemicals and folks drink well water. The combination of chemicals in drinking water can't be good. I care if there is a gas station near my water supply. Allowing a gas station to expand in this location is a bad idea because it is "non conforming." A few years ago, the Harford County Council passed legislation against expansion of non conforming gas stations. These gas stations are not supposed to expand.
I understand that we are changing the use of James Run, a property at Route 543 and I-95 that is outside the development envelope. The property has a Mixed Office zoning. The county government is even providing Tax Incremental Financing or TIF to help the developer. I am having trouble with these decisions because many blighted areas should receive help before new, and in some cases un-needed development, is financed. Also, changing the use of the property to mainly retail and lodging houses and almost no office is against the purpose of the special Mixed Office zoning.
When I read about these and other issues regarding land use I ask my self "Why do I care?"
I don't have kids in school, don't own a lot of property and no longer work in the county.
Maybe I care because I have lived here a long time. My kids graduated from local schools and generations of my family lived and worked here.
I care because I want Harford County residents to have a good quality of life and enjoy clean water, usable open space and safe schools, roads and neighborhoods.
Because I care, I vote and that is very important. But it is not enough. If I see an issue that affects my quality of life, I need to stand up and speak out. I know other groups lobby the government and I need to be just as vocal.
Bottom line: I care as do others in the county. I have to be willing to approach my representatives and other county officials for a cleaner, safer and more carefully planned Harford County.
If you care about Harford's future, I urge you to speak up too.
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