BY HAFIZ RASHID, Special to The Aegis
9:45 PM EST, November 28, 2012
Attendance was high at Tuesday's night's Fallston Community Council meeting at the Fallston fire station, where many residents showed up to protest the possibility of an RV park being developed off Route 1 near the new Aumar Village Shopping Center.
"There are more people attending this meeting than any meeting the whole year," Chairman Dave Williams said as the meeting concluded.
About 50 residents in the audience noted their strong opposition to the park. Williams asked those attending if anyone supported the proposed park, and none raised their hands.
"There are a thousand better things to do with the land, including putting in grass and trees," Brad Lear, chairman of the Pleasant Hills Neighborhood Watch, said. "Who would want to have an RV park 1,000 feet from McDonald's?"
Lear also had two additional reasons why he is opposed to the RV park: It's impact on nature and the negative effect on water runoff.
Michael Euler Sr., the developer of Aumar Village, has applied to the county for a special zoning exception to permit an 56-space RV park to be developed on 11.5 acres the western side of the shopping center property. Euler's plan was first reported in The Aegis Nov. 14.
The shopping center, which is home to McDonald's, CVS, APG Federal Credit Union and Harford's first Texas Roadhouse Restaurant, occupies one corner of the intersection of Routes 1 and 152.
Euler has said the proposed RV park would be separate from the shopping center and would have its own entrance from Route 1. He said in a recent interview that he believes there is a demand for an RV park in Fallston, one that he says would mostly attract weekend visitors.
Prior to Tuesday's community council meeting, a flier, put together by group calling itself Fallston Residents Unite, was distributed to Fallston residents urging attendance at the meeting to oppose the RV campground.
The flier referred to the earlier Aegis article and urged residents to contact District B County Councilman Joseph Woods to note their opposition. Woods' district includes Fallston.
Woods attended Tuesday's, but he stepped out while the RV park was discussed because zoning appeals cases like the one involving the RV park are ultimately decided by the county council under its authority as the county zoning appeals board. The board is a quasi-judicial body, and council members typically refrain from participating in discussions that may involve a pending case.
The flier also urges residents who want to get involved in opposing the proposed park to contact Michelle Adams, one of the organizers of Fallston Residents Unite. Adams also circulated a petition opposing the RV park during the community council meeting.
Also discussed during the meeting, though unrelated to the RV park, were the ongoing concerns about traffic at the Route 1 and Route 152 intersection and the need for a new building to replace Youth's Benefit Elementary School. The county school board recently endorsed seeking state and county funding for the Youth's Benefit replacement project.
Fazenbaker said Wednesday at least 90 people have signed the petition, and they are trying to focus on traffic issues to help defeat the RV park. Her group has an e-mail address: FallstonResidentsUnite@gmail.com.
"In my opinion, the man [Euler] is trying to get his foot in the door, and once he does, he's going to get whatever he wants." Fazenbaker said. "People don't want it, so why do we have to have it in the area?"
"Everyone that we talked to, the people who have signed [the petition] do not want it," she added.
"Fallston is not an area for recreational vehicles or boats," Fazenbaker continued. "Who wants that in a residential area? This is rural, this is not some place where you want to keep recreational vehicles and boats."
She also there are some businesses in the area residents fought against that zoning officials approved anyway.
"We're going to have to group together and see what we can do," she said. "If we don't get the traffic and other issues to back this up, we're out in the ballfield on this. We'll end up having it."
Fazenbaker also said she and Adams are trying to mobilize people to attend the special exception hearing, which is likely to be held in January or February, although Euler had earlier said he was hoping to get the hearing before the end of the year.