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Any new development near Fallston intersection could have a substantial impact [Commentary]

That the curious proposal to build a recreational vehicle campground on land near Aumar Village in Fallston has been ditched comes as somewhat less of a surprise than the proposal itself.

Aumar Village is situated at one of Harford County's busiest intersections, at Routes 1 and 152; it is hardly the kind of place for parking an RV and getting away from it all. We speculated in this space a few months back that it might be possible to attract RV users who were interested in a suburban starting point for urban sight-seeing in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a destination, however, even given its close proximity to a section of Gunpowder Falls State Park, Fallston may be a nice place to live, but it's no place to visit.

It remains to be seen to what degree the RV proposal floated by Fallston resident and property developer Michael Euler Sr. was a tactic for getting something a little less flashy. The land where the RV park was proposed is zoned for agricultural use, though it is hardly in an area that has the look of a farming district.

Moreover, as a practical matter, the difference between an RV park, a campground and a residential trailer park is such that allowing one could well amount to allowing any of the others. The prospect of an RV park turned residential trailer park is likely what, at least in part, prompted community opposition.

Community opposition nominally prompted Euler to change his proposal from RV park to youth sports and athletics complex, a use that's probably more in keeping with the area.

It remains to be seen, however, what will end up at the site.

The RV park would have required special action on the part of the Harford County Council acting in its capacity as the county's board of zoning appeals, and such dispensation on zoning laws is hardly the hallmark of good land use planning. Possibly, a youth sports complex will be more in keeping with what's permitted on the property under current zoning.

There's also the important matter of traffic. The intersection is busy and notoriously congested at rush hours, even as the full impact of the Aumar Village shopping center has yet to be realized. Maybe more development in the vicinity of that intersection should be put on hold until it's clear what the long-term traffic effects will be.

Hopefully, offering a potentially irritating development in hopes of getting community approval for something a little less onerous isn't what was intended in this case and isn't something that becomes a standard tactic.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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