Councilman Joseph M. Woods, who represents Abingdon, Joppa, Fallston and a small part of Bel Air, is opposed to the relocation of the I-95/Mountain Road park-and-ride. He does not want to relocate the lot because it will “congest the roads and impact the area’s residents.” Yet he and five other County Council members have strongly supported construction of the Abingdon Business Park.
Residents first learned about the ABP in January 2019 and we have been protesting the project for over a year because it will further congest routes 7, 924, 24, and Abingdon Road and severely impact the daily lives of the area’s residents.
We have been suggesting that there are numerous existing vacant warehouses throughout Joppa, Edgewood, Belcamp and Aberdeen that could be utilized instead of destroying 326 pristine wooded acres just to accommodate 2.4 million square feet of warehouse space and 97,400 square feet of commercial, retail and food service businesses. We have been led to believe that the Maryland Department of the Environment recommends that projects such as this should not proceed if there are other acceptable alternatives present.
In addition to even more traffic congestion than is already being experienced on the above-mentioned roads this proposed project will irreparably impact the environment. Much of the property is designated non-tidal wetlands. There is a 100-year floodplain. The HaHa Branch runs through the property and there are many underground streams. All of these feed into Otter Creek and the Bush River which then feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The property is also the habitat of many animals — deer, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, turtles, frogs, salamanders, yellow perch, songbirds, osprey and frequently eagles.
The property, formerly known as Abingdon Woods, is in the middle of residential areas. It is adjacent to William Paca and Old Post Elementary Schools and historic St. Francis De Sales. The property extends from Van Bibber Road near Route 24 to Abingdon Road. The zoning was changed from residential to commercial/industrial in 1982. In the 37 years since the zoning was changed at least 10 residential developments have been approved and constructed in close proximity to the property.
If this project is approved the non-stop caravan of tractor trailers 24/7 will constantly expose all residents, including those students at William Paca and Old Post Road Elementary Schools, to diesel fuel particulates which studies have shown to be highly carcinogenic. So, in essence, as the environment will become polluted so will the lungs of all area residents.
Residential property values will drop because the ABP is located in the middle of residential areas. Already contracts have fallen through because potential buyers have become aware of the mere possibility of the Abingdon Business Park. Houses used to sell quickly. Now they languish unsold.
We, the residents of Abingdon, are not opposed to development. However, we are pro-smart-development and unfortunately this project seems to fall short in that respect. It is neither environment nor resident-friendly. We, whose lives will be permanently impacted by this project, deserve to have a future in which corporate and government desires do not take precedent over our concerns for the environment and our well-being and quality of life.
Councilman Woods, in reference to the park-and-ride, suggests that “The state really needs to take another approach to this.” We, the residents of Abingdon, suggest that Harford County also really needs to take another approach to the Abingdon Business Park.
MARYLEE A. STRITCH
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