Joppa ready to take on county council during March meeting

Joppa and Joppatowne residents are prepared to speak out against the proposed trash transfer station on Route 7 during next month's community council meeting.

While Harford County Councilman Dion Guthrie didn't have much new information to share with the 20-some people in attendance during Monday's monthly meeting, he did spark questions and created more steam in the already irate community.

During January's meeting, representatives of an engineering company told Joppa residents that the widely discussed waste transfer station could be put on another site in Harford County, rather than in a residential area of the community.

Guthrie said he recently met with Harford County Executive David Craig and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger on the matter.

Guthrie suggested that the waste-to-energy facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which has to close by 2016, would be a great location to put the transfer station.

If the facility is closing and that location is opening up, he said, "maybe we can make it a transfer station."

From there, the councilman explained, the trash can be loaded onto trains and taken to other facilities, even out of state.

"I think that might be the answer," Guthrie said.

Stephen Puopolo, a member of the Edgewood Community Council, said a friend suggested the community reaches out to media outlets, such as WBAL, WMAR and WJZ, to tell their side of the story and have their voices heard.

Joppa Community Council Chairwoman Paula Mullis said she wanted to give the county council members a chance to have their say and listen to the community during next month's meeting.

Mullis expressed that she would like to have many county council members at the meeting in March, particularly Councilman Joe Woods, whose district encompasses the site where the station is proposed.

If that doesn't work, she added, then they would consider going to the media.

Mullis also asked those in attendance to come up with questions to ask the county council members during that meeting.

Master plan

Janet Gleisner, of the department of planning and zoning, gave a brief overview of what the Harford County master plan looks like and what it means for the Joppa/Joppatowne community.

The master plan was due to have a public at Tuesday's county council meeting. (Please see related story, Page A1.)

Gleisner said the Joppa portion of the map maintains a focus on the Route 40 corridor and the Chesapeake Science and Security corridor.

Community council member Gloria Moon asked what is different between the proposed master plan and the current one other than removing rural residential areas. Gleisner said nothing else was different.

Like she has done at previous meetings, Moon expressed her dissatisfaction with the existing land use map, calling it "very wrong."

"It does not reflect our Joppa," she said, adding that it was misleading. Moon used Mountain Branch Golf Course as an example, saying it was designated on the map as open space, but she would be kicked out if she walked her dog there.

Gleisner explained that zoning classifications and the land use map are different because the map is used as a national standard for other jurisdictions to conduct an analysis on any other area and have it be consistent.

Again, using the example of the golf course, Gleisner said it's designated as open space because it is, but the map does not indicate what is private or public property.

She further clarified that the land use map has nothing to do with zoning, but merely indicates what exists at the moment. The master plan then designates how the county wants to grow in the future.

"All in all, I think the plan is pretty nice," Moon said. "You just made a few mistakes."

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