The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly proposes moratorium on warehouse projects

Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly announced proposed legislation Wednesday that would impose a six-month moratorium on approvals or permits for county warehouse projects.

“This pause will allow my administration necessary time to study the zoning and development regulations concerning mega-warehouses and their placement within the county,” Cassilly said in a news release.


“Today’s mega-warehouses and distribution centers did not exist when our zoning code was written, and it’s critical that we evaluate their potential impacts on our community, economy and natural environment.”

In a newsletter emailed Thursday to constituents, Cassilly said, “I have heard from many citizens who are rightly concerned about the major impact these mega-developments can have on road networks and the surrounding community. The six-month pause will give my administration time to consider the best way forward for the business community and for our residents’ quality of life.”


The proposed legislation will be introduced to the Harford County Council for further consideration, according to the release.

District D council member James Reilly, a Republican, reacted positively to the proposed legislation.

“As a new council member, zoning and development regulations are not a quick study, so I would agree putting a pause in place is a good idea,” Reilly said.

Council member Jacob Bennett, a Democrat whose District F encompasses the contested development of the Mitchell property in Perryman, said he would have appreciated Cassilly reaching out to him before announcing the proposal.

If built, the Mitchell development would create 5.2 million square feet of warehouse space within the waterfront town. Perryman citizens sued the county over the development last year.

“I hope in the future that they will open the lines of communication as the issue of warehousing impacts my district greatly, and my office has been hard at work on several potential bills to help address this issue prior to this announcement,” Bennett said.


Bennett said he’s eager to look over the legislation and work with community partners, such as the citizen-led coalitions Protect Perryman Peninsula and Save Abingdon Woods, the latter of which is aiming to preserve Abingdon Woods amid another warehouse development project.

“It will be important for citizens to participate in the legislative process including attending County Council meetings and testifying on the legislation,” said Paul Fallace, a Perryman resident and leader of the 3P coalition.

The next County Council meeting is Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Cassilly will present his State of the County address before the meeting, at 7 p.m.

Council member Dion Guthrie, a Democrat representing District A, recently visited the Perryman Peninsula, where the Mitchell development would be built among several existing warehouses.

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Guthrie said he will support the proposed temporary moratorium.


One of the complaints from Perryman citizens is that the roads in their town can’t sustain current truck traffic, let alone an increase in volume.

“To put more of these warehouses there right now without trying to find additional ways in and out of there or widening the roads in and out of there really complicates things for the people who live back there,” Guthrie said.

The County Council passed a temporary moratorium on building development on the Perryman Peninsula last April. Then-county executive Barry Glassman vetoed the bill in May, and the council did not take further action.

The Protect Perryman Peninsula coalition recommended voters support Cassilly in the July 2022 Republican primary, and several Perryman residents said they switched political parties and registered as Republican to vote Cassilly in as county executive.

Harford County Council president Patrick Vincenti was unavailable to comment due to a personal obligation, an aide said. Council members Tony Giangiordano, Aaron Penman and Jessica Boyle-Tsottles, and Cassilly’s public information officer Sam Kahl, did not reply to requests for comment by The Aegis’ print deadline.