BY TED HENDRICKS and ALLAN VOUGHT, firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
8:20 PM EST, January 24, 2013
The Fallston community is getting organized in its opposition to a proposed RV park, and some of the staunchest opponents are waiting for what they believe might be the clichéd other shoe to drop.
Opponents are focusing their efforts on making their best presentation at a hearing before a Zoning Examiner on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Harford County Council chambers at 212 S. Bond St. in Bel Air.
"It will be my hope that we fill the place, out the door and down the street," Michelle Adams, one of two organizers of the effort to fight the RV plan, said at Tuesday evening's Fallston Community Council meeting.
About 90 people, most of them there seeking more information about the RV park, filled a meeting room at the Fallston firehouse on Carrs Mill Road Tuesday evening for the community council's monthly meeting.
The fight is against a plan by Michael Euler, a Fallston resident and developer, to build an RV park on 15.46 acres behind the new Aumar Village shopping center at the corner of Belair and Mountain roads, also known as Routes 1 and 152.
Access would be off Route 1 just south of Aumar Village, which is home to the new Texas Roadhouse and McDonald's restaurants. The parcel is behind the Texas Roadhouse and between the eatery and Harford Road, also known as Route 147.
Information distributed at the meeting said plans call for "a maximum of 10 campsites per acre" on 15.46 acres.
"We need people to be foot soldiers and spread the word," Adams said. The group, formed by Adams and Melva Fazenbaker, is calling itself Fallston Residents Unite and can be reached via e-mail at FallstonResidentsUnite@gmail.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FallstonResidentsUnite.
Adams asked people to join the effort to stop this proposal, including going door to door, adding that the opposition needs help covering all the residences in the Fallston area. That's a daunting task, she conceded, both in the sheer number of homes and the act itself of knocking on doors in an unfamiliar area with an unknown response.
"Go with someone, use the buddy system," she said. "We ask that you just go to houses in your neighborhood."
Some at the meeting posed the scenario that the proposal for the RV park is a diversionary tactic aimed at making it easier for the developer to get approval for some unspecified project for the site.
"I think this is smoke and mirrors," Homer Walton, who lives on Angleside Road, stood up and said at the meeting. "We fight this and then he [the developer] comes back and says 'OK' how about this?"
Others agreed, but the leaders of the opposition brought the focus back to the RV park proposal.
"After the last community council meeting," Adams told the audience, "there was some news generated in The Aegis and things started to take off."
The group has 500 e-mail signatures and another 300 signatures on a petition against the plan.
Euler, who did not attend the community council meeting, said Thursday his plan has some flexibility, and he criticized opponents for not contacting him to talk about it.
"The plan is changing but since no one from the community has reached out to talk with me, they may not like what is coming," Euler said. "Then again, they wouldn't know, because they haven't asked."
Euler said he has made efforts to meet with the opponents but they haven't been receptive.
"I'm willing to modify my plan, but I'm not willing to negotiate against myself," he added.
Euler said some people have the misconception the RV park would be in the area of Aumar Village closest to the highway in the space where Euler plans to build a supermarket once he can secure a tenant. The supermarket plan isn't changing, he said. The 15 acres where he is proposing the RV park are far away from the highway, he noted, and are not suitable for retail commercial development.
"I live here in Fallston," he said. "I personally care about the community. They [the opponents] really need to call me."
Scott Rowe, another leader of Fallston Residents Unite, said he was pleased with Tuesday's turnout because it represented an increased interest in the project. He said on about 35 people attended the last community council meeting At Tuesday's meeting, there were about 90 people along seven rows of tables that seated up to 15 people each facing toward the front.
Adams said the effort has focused on putting the best argument in front of the hearing examiner, which means minimizing the emotional pleas and maximizing the factual arguments against it. She asked people in the audience to contact the group and voice their concerns.
"We want to try and coordinate with everybody all of your concerns," Adams said.
As the meeting was nearing its end, Rowe posed the question that those present had already asked and answered: "What is this RV park going to do for Fallston?"
"Nothing," voices in the audience answered.