Kudos to Harford County’s purchase of the 350-acre Belle Vue Farm. Numerous developers had expressed interest in building an industrial park, business complex, or residential community on the property. The county is still deciding what the possible public recreational and educational opportunities are for the property.
Why couldn’t the county purchase the 326-acre property formerly known as Abingdon Woods but now being referred to as the Abingdon Business Park? Why couldn’t the county determine the recreational and educational opportunities for the property? Instead the County Executive and County Council approved the property’s annexation into the Joppa-Edgewood Enterprise Zone.
The Abingdon Business Park consists of 2.4 million square feet of warehouse space, the largest warehouses of which range in size from 600,000 square feet to 1.05 million square feet. Smaller warehouses range from 25,000 square feet to 304,500 square feet. The project will also include 97,00 square feet of commercial, retail, and food service businesses.
The property extends from the intersection of Edgewood and Van Bibber roads to Abingdon Road. It is in the middle of a residential area. It is adjacent to William Paca and Old Post Road Elementary Schools. The historic St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church also borders the property.
Over 303 acres of the property is wooded with many specimen trees that are over 100 years old. 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 the Bush River which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.
The Maryland Department of the Environment has always recommended that projects such as the Abingdon Business Park should not proceed if there are other acceptable alternatives present. There are already many vacant warehouses and retail spaces available in Harford County, but the project is still being considered.
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 not environment-friendly. It is not resident-friendly.
We, whose lives will be severely and irreparably impacted by the Abingdon Business Park deserve to have a future in which corporate desires and government complacency do not take precedence over our concerns for the environment and our well-being and our existing quality of life.
MARYLEE A. STRITCH
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