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Letter: Ask leaders why more intense development is allowed in formerly rural areas

Harford County citizens are aware of the negative impacts of intense development that creep along the edges of the Development Envelope (properties with access to sewer and public water) into rural areas like Forest Hill, Hickory, Creswell and Fallston. These parcels are prime investment for developers, as a majority are undervalued agricultural-zoned lands that can be bought up quickly and are reasonably priced.

One current example is the area around the Route 1/Route 152/Route 147 byways. Once home to the Fallston hospital and categorized the “Fallston Sanitary Sub-District,” the area had minimal sewer and public water capacity. In 2016, at the direction of the current County Administration and approval by much of the current County Council, the Development Envelope was expanded during the Master Plan Land Use process.

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For anyone owning land in this area, it was like hitting the lottery. Now, parcels that had a minimal capacity of uses, for only an $800 filing fee, could be up-zoned easily during the 2017 Comprehensive Zoning Review with little push back from surrounding neighborhoods and heavy lobbying by the development community.

Now, in 2019, the properties are starting to show their actual potential. More intense businesses, apartments and villas can be built here in the very near future.

There were many opportunities to weigh in during the 10-year Master Land Use and Comprehensive Zoning Review processes, unfortunately, those windows are closed. The next chance for the public to provide input is during county mandated Community Input and Development Advisory Committee meetings.

Please consider attending these scheduled meetings and ask your local decision makers: “Why?”

Why continue to initiate and approve more intense development along the edges of the Development Envelope, thereby inviting sprawl and loss of farmland? Why continue to negatively impact roads, schools and emergency services in communities not planned for more intense development? Why not encourage revitalizing and redevelopment of existing older areas in the county and preserve the rural integrity of our beloved county?

The bottom line, local land use is decided by the County Executive and County Council so citizens must voice their concerns directly to the Executive and Council members.

Beth Poggioli

Baldwin

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