One of the main reasons Alicia Taylor moved to Perryman was so that her kids, one in pre-kindergarten and one in first grade, could experience nature and be near wildlife. Just yesterday, Taylor said, they saw a herd of deer in the woods near their house.
“We want our children to be able to have a childhood and not be bogged down by concrete, trucks and noise,” said Taylor, a Perryman resident for nine years. “We don’t live in the city for all of those reasons.”
Much of that could change with the threat of a planned development project that would construct five warehouses over 5.2 million square feet on farmland formerly owned by the Mitchell family. The property has been zoned for light industrial use since 1997, which would allow for warehouses to be built there. Chesapeake Real Estate Group, based in Hanover, is developing the project, and the civil engineering firm Frederick Ward & Associates, of Bel Air, is overseeing construction.
The Chesapeake Real Estate Group previously developed another 571,000 square-foot warehouse in Perryman back in 2015.
“We did not buy our home to live near warehouses,” Taylor said.
Taylor is one of many concerned Perryman residents speaking out against the development. She plans on attending the county’s Development Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday where the project will be discussed, and she said her husband will attend Tuesday’s County Council meeting.
The number of Perryman residents speaking out at council meetings has also grown. They often wear bright teal hats that read “Protect Perryman Peninsula.” At the Dec. 14 meeting, four of 15 public commenters opposed the Perryman development. At the following meeting Jan. 4, 12 of 17 commenters spoke out against the project. At last week’s meeting, about 20 people spoke out against it.
In a Facebook group called Protecting Perryman Peninsula (3P), which has more than 735 members, residents air their grievances about the project and share information about where they can direct their concerns. A coalition of the same name was expected to hold a press conference before Tuesday’s council meeting.
The coalition, which developed in December, has four main concerns with how the development project will impact the community: increased traffic resulting in more dangerous roads; negative environmental impacts such as contaminating drinking water and threatening wildlife; decreasing quality of life with increased light and noise, which would also decrease property values; and building warehouses in area zoned for light industrial use.
Many of the group’s Facebook posts, however, complain about the presence of tractor trailers due to existing development.
“You have to basically risk your life to go in between to try to pass or go around another way,” said Paul Fallace, an organizer of the 3P Coalition.
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Another resident, Nichole Rumsey, said that over the past three to four years, tractor trailers have knocked over her mailbox about 10 times.
“They take out every mailbox possible when they come down Spesutia Road,” Rumsey said.
At the Jan. 11 council meeting, District F representative Curtis Beulah said the primary concern residents bring to him are traffic related, and that more Perryman residents have complained about traffic to him than the rest of his district combined.
“The roads can’t handle the traffic they already have,” Beulah said, “and we’re going to put not hundreds, but thousands of more visits by tractor trailers in and out of Perryman with only one entrance. It’s ludicrous.”
Fallace has six proposed solutions he plans to share during the next council meeting. They include eliminating unsafe driving/traffic conditions, increasing the standards of Perryman roads, bus stops and crosswalks, and redistricting industrial traffic off of rural roads.
A spokesperson for County Executive Barry Glassman said that because the project is still being reviewed, “Our public comments on the requirements for this proposal will be made at the [Development Advisory Committee] meeting.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Nichole Rumsey’s name. The Aegis regrets the error.