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Letter: Glassman administration’s actions again do not match its commitment to protect and preserve | READER COMMENTARY

It would be natural to assume the County Executive would strive to finish out his final term with a positive legacy to our community. When our citizens look back on Mr. Glassman’s tenure, he would want to show that his actions matched his vision for our county.

Unfortunately, I am concerned that the current actions of this administration are anything but keeping with their stated goals. One of Mr. Glassman’s accomplishments has been to develop a very professional Harford County website. This site is an excellent resource for citizens to get useful information about the administration’s vision for our county.

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The site states that “Harford County’s focus on its Enterprise Zones in Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, Edgewood and Joppa are designated by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development for the purpose of: Promoting development and occupancy of vacant, underutilized land and buildings, and support the county’s commitment to revitalizing older industrial areas of Harford County.

These are common-sense objectives that are part of smart growth planning aimed at economic development while promoting a high quality of life. Given the county’s stated goals, I am confused about the contradictory decision to place the Abingdon Woods in an enterprise zone. This property is not in an industrial area of the county; in fact, the forest borders an elementary school.

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In addition, this forest is not vacant or underutilized, nor does it contain any buildings. What it does contain is a large expanse of green infrastructure teeming with old growth trees, wetlands and native wildlife. It is regulating the climate, filtering water, providing habitats, and purifying the air. It is vital for not only educating our youth about the importance of green infrastructure, but also our physical and economic health.

Harford County’s Green Infrastructure Plan is also found on the county’s website. This plan was sponsored and approved by this administration. The plan states wonderful common-sense goals, such as Abingdon Woods is “a core forest which should be protected and preserved.” The plan states “actions to protect, restore, and manage county green infrastructure start with direct county stewardship, education, outreach, and regulation Forestry Management.”

Unfortunately, the administration’s actions again do not match their commitment to protect and preserve. For example, trees in our state are protected by law based on their value to the ecosystem and our health, but the administration has approved a plan that grants a waiver to the developer to cut 53 of the 78 heritage trees “in their way.”

While I am disappointed by the administration’s blatant disregard for practicing what they preach, I am glad the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is currently challenging this approval in court.

Based on these facts it is difficult to understand the actions of Harford’s elected officials, unless you look at their campaign finance reports. Does the developer of Abingdon Woods have more influence in our county’s future than its citizens? My hope is that Harford County may someday be a place that not only knows the right things to say but acts accordingly.

VERONICA CASSILLY

Darlington

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