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Comment period for Harford master plan over, for now

Even though the November deadline for public comments on Harford County's Master Plan and Land Use Element Plan has passed, residents still will be able to give input on it.

That is what Director of Planning and Zoning Pete Gutwald told the Abingdon Community Council during his presentation at the group's meeting Monday evening. The deadline to comment was Nov. 10, but the plan is scheduled to be submitted to the Harford County Council in January, and a public hearing on the legislation should follow.

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In the most recent period for public comment, Gutwald said about a dozen comments were posted on the website, approximately 40 people showed up at the public workshop in October and received numerous e-mails and letters were sent to him and his department.

During his presentation at the meeting, Gutwald discussed broad points of the master plan, specifying that the overall plan is a charter requirement, but the land use portion is what shows how and where Harford County wants to grow.

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The land use plan didn't show any changes in the Abingdon area, Gutwald said.

Members and attendees also brought up various issues before Gutwald, including additional leasing in the Box Hill shopping center, the possibility of a new Walmart and a potential park at Routes 24 and 924.

The last time he spoke with Walmart representatives, Gutwald said, was about the scope of study when Walmart wanted to argue that they were being treated unfairly and should not be held accountable for studying the intersections.

Since then, Gutwald added, he has received nothing from the corporation about a new location in Abingdon. As for a "central" park at Route 24 and Route 924, Gutwald said he wasn't sure if the land deal has been finalized and has not been involved in that process.

Other business

Harford County Sheriff's Office Capt. Christopher Swain reported three to four burglaries in the past three weeks to a month, as well as nine vehicle thefts. The burglaries are typically by people the homeowners know, he added, and the vehicle thefts were "almost exclusively" involving unlocked vehicles.

County Councilman Dion Guthrie attended, along with Councilman Joe Woods, because portions of Abingdon are included in Guthrie's district under the new redistricting map. In his presentation, Guthrie discussed on the livability code and the county's plan to upgrade the renting standards in it.

One of their goals, he added, is to make it mandatory for landlords to register with the county.

The next Abingdon Community Council meeting is Monday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Abingdon library.

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