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Abingdon could have more empty warehouses and 200 fewer acres of trees if plan goes forward | READER COMMENTARY

The Abingdon Business Park has a major flaw. The developer could remove 200 acres of trees, and the buildings may never be occupied. The site plan approval outlines the steps for the development of the Abingdon Business Park. The forest stand delineation and forest conservation have been approved. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of the Environment have inspected the site and verified the wetlands. The landscape plan has been approved. The Health Department has approved the plan. The traffic impact analysis has been approved.

The next step is to get the Sediment Control Plan approved. Also, a permit is needed for the filling of the non-tidal wetlands. Then the developer can get the grading permits, which will result in the clearing of 200 acres of trees.

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Next all of the road plans must be submitted to the county for approval. The county engineers and the developer’s engineers will go back and forth, and these plans could get approved. Then a Harford County Public Works agreement must be executed, and Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration access permit must be issued. Also, the public utilities have to be either operational or bonded for construction. A final plat must be recorded in the Harford County Land Records. After all of these conditions have been met, a building permit can be issued.

The road improvement outlined in the traffic impact analysis include improvements to Route 24, the I-95 northbound ramp, Route 7 at Routes 24 and 136, Abingdon Road at Edgewood and at Laurel Bush roads, and the Edgewood Road extension. An occupancy permit will not be issued until all of these road improvements have been constructed and documented by MDOT SHA.

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Multiple homeowners and an homeowner’s association have already turned down the developers' request for the land. A letter from Cindy Mumby, Director of Harford County Governmental & Community Relations, stated in reference to the Abingdon Business Park development “Regarding condemnation or eminent domain to facilitate required road improvements, the county executive and the county government will not force the sale of easements on behalf of a developer.”

The developer could clear 200 acres of trees and may never get the building permit. The developer could get the building permit and may never get an occupancy permit. And Harford Count District A will have four more empty warehouses.

SUSAN M. BECKWELL

Abingdon

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