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100 Particpate In Rally Against Bel Air Walmart

Event organizers say at least 100 people came out Saturday to express their opposition to the proposed Bel Air Walmart location.

Red and white signs were hard to miss Saturday afternoon along MD Route 924 in Bel Air.

At one point 82 people held signs expressing opposition to Walmart's proposed move to the area of MD Route 924 and Plumtree Road, event organizer Steve Tobia wrote in an email to Patch. The demonstration was part of a rally organized by the Bel Air South Community Foundation.

Tobia said more than 100 people stopped by the rally Saturday, and 95 people signed a petition through a drive-thru sign up service.

"Passing motorist[s] enthusiastically responded with near non-stop honking of horns," Tobia wrote.

Find more coverage of the Walmart issue here.

You tell us: What are your thoughts on the proposed Walmart move? Leave a comment. Have your own photos from the rally? Share them by clicking the "Add Photos & Videos" button in above.

Otto Schmidlap January 15, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I don't have a dog in this fight, but doesn't zoning in the locale in question allow for a WalMart or similar enterprise?
eunice January 15, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Was there this much rift when they built the Festival which is only a block away? What's the difference? And I agree with Otto about the zoning in that area. What do you all think commercial zoning consist for? What if it was just another strip maLl or how bout a factory or car dealership going in there?
Paul Potts January 15, 2013 at 04:07 PM
So if not a Walmart then what will be acceptable for that b3 zoned area? A new county prison, how about a seedy motel and adult novelty shops? Garbage transfer station with landfill? How about a 24 hour truck stop? Mobil home park? What should we let in there and who do we keep out? We need a list, this is something steve and the BASCF should be all over before it's too late.
mighty1 January 15, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Build the Walmart and then move the Dark Horse Saloon to the parking lot.Perfect location,midway between Edgewood and Bel Air.Walmart sells guns so all the idiots wrapped up in the ongoing hate could arm themselves and put on a first class show for the surrounding suburban middle class.People thought they'd move to Harford County and leave the urban life behind,but it seems they just brought it all with them.You can't run away from yourself.Maybe we should rename 924 and call it Merritt Blvd.
sunshine110 January 15, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I have to agree that the traffic this change will present will be horrible...I live in Bel Air and have found clever ways to avoid that area as it is. However it is good to note the property is zoned for this type of business. I think the real protest ahould now be with the county/state to find a suitable traffic pattern. The opportunity to protest the zoning is long gone. Something's going there..just a matter of what.
SnakeSkin January 15, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Just bulldoze constant friendship Walmart along with the white/black trash that works there. Build a new one over top of it and hire people who DON'T have criminal records!!! It's ghetto and I think that's why we are upset. We don't the ghetto up in here!!! Lol
mighty1 January 16, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Snakeskin my man,I bet you get your feathers all ruffled when the welfare discussion pops up.All that white/black trash that you probably complain about getting the free ride go out and get a job and then you complain about that.Walmart just promised every Veteran who wants a job can have one,is it alright if they work in your neighborhood?What if the Vet is black or poor?My God,what do we do if he's Latino?As a Vietnam Veteran people occasionally thank me for my service and it sets me back a little(I guess you had to live through that time to understand that)but then I think of people with views like yours and think I could have better spent my time doing something else.
Colleen Schafer January 16, 2013 at 03:02 AM
As stated above MANY stores renovate and stay open all the time. No one will be laid off. Plans were presented tonight at the County Council meeting. It IS a viable option. Walmart just wants their store to be exactly as they want it to be, so they can make maximum profit, and it will be at the expense of the community. They do not care about the surrounding community whatsoever. It's all about the $. Interestingly enough, Walmart's founding father stated that they will not build where they are not wanted. At least 85% of the surrounding community is against Walmart building there. This is shown by the overcrowded CIM, overcrowded DAC, community rallies and canvassing, petitions, and even the beeps and waves during roadside rallies. Yet, Walmart continues to push forward. Why? For profit. Someone above discussed zoning. One purpose of zoning is to maintain quality of life for the surrounding community. We know others will build there, but they should be in keeping with the community. Walmart is not a good fit here for MANY reasons. And they say they will help traffic? Picture a 6-lane road for a small part of 924 up to Plumtree and then suddenly you are back to 3. McDonald's and Walgreens are not going to move. There is talk of Plumtree limiting access to 24 too. How is widening part of 924 going to mitigate traffic? Add 10,000 cars from Walmart.It's just going to cause a bottleneck. Bright Oaks and other communities will be a miserable place to live.
Robin January 16, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Don't waste your time with rallies or petitions. It didn't help with trying to keep Kohl's out of my backyard. Walmart has way more money and that's what talks.
sunshine110 January 16, 2013 at 01:21 PM
What establishment do you feel would be in keeping with the community?
Harold Finnely January 16, 2013 at 01:52 PM
I couldn't agree more. Even if every thing they are doing is perfectly legal we need to stop them because we don't like them or want them as our neighbors. They have no rights and don't deserve them because they are bad. We should also be able to stop people we don't like from legally moving into our neighbor hoods also. You know the ones that are dirty or don't take care of their houses, they bring house values down. Or the ones that have teenagers that never mow the grass or get a job, they need to be stopped. Maybe they should have to take a test and supply references before we let them into our communities. As a matter of fact we need to stop everyone in this county who isn't exactly like me and doesn't have the same values and morals. That is the foundation this great country was built on, so all you people who are different and I don't like, go back to where you came from you are not wanted here and I can round up a couple a hundred people that will agree with me.....
Ashley January 16, 2013 at 02:22 PM
You do realize that the majority of store level employees at Walmart are below poverty level and require government assistance? Getting a job at Walmart doesn't get you off welfare, it pretty much just ensures you stay on it (and that their employees have to shop there). http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/walmart-and-workers/
Karl Schuub January 16, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Your point however well intended is misguided. Of course the citizens have a say in what and who moves into any location regarding of zoning designation. That's why neighbors were up in arms when they found out somebody planned for a group home for drug addicts to be put in the middle of their neighborhood. That's why strip clubs would be unwelcome next to a church or school. Thinking that objection to Walmart at Plum Tree is the being the same as being racist or a homophobe is beyond silly. Let's hope you just added that for effect rather than actually believe that because to believe that would be very, very dumb and I'd like to think nobody is that dumb.
CB9678 January 16, 2013 at 06:03 PM
name caller? how you figure? Laziness is a condition, not name calling.
CB9678 January 16, 2013 at 06:04 PM
MLB.....Pot....Kettle? should I get you one at Wal-Mart?
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 03:00 AM
but not the over crowded rezoning meeting that they should have gone to. You have no real data to support your 85% claim. You made that number up! As far as the road re narrowing that happens on 24 off of APG are we going to demand APG widden it too? BTW it is not 10,000 cars it is 5,000 cars!
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Karl to compare Walmart to a strip club is assinine!
Colleen Schafer January 17, 2013 at 03:39 AM
I'm done reading all the silly comments. If you would want a 6-lane road a few houses away and Walmart across the street from your house where you can see it from your deck, then that's a good thing. You can buy my house then if they build, because I would not want to raise a family in the cluster-f*** of traffic that they are going to create so close to homes and schools. I have to drive this road every day. It's already a mess. I bet the people leaving silly comments don't even live in this neighborhood. They certainly haven't done their research to know what a horrible organization Walmart is. And no, the 85% was not made up. There are numbers to back it up. Good night people.
Steven Tobia January 17, 2013 at 04:40 AM
CB9678, Colleen is right. Overview Manor, 102 homes contacted, 87 petition signatures/addresses collected for 85.29%. Bright Oaks was 89% opposed.
MLB January 17, 2013 at 05:12 PM
CB9678 why don't you tell us the general area where you live and explain in a logical and unemotional way why you support the Walmart move. We know it is zoned B-3 but there is a condition that zoning will not affect the quality of life and the area can handle the traffic. The current location can be expanded, and better serves all of its' current customer base that live in Edgewood, Abingdon and Bel Air. Walmart has not given an understandable reason for the move, how about you?
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 06:25 PM
So is that 87 signatures from 87 DIFFERENT homes? Secondly you named two neighborhoods there is a ton of residential housing.
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Generally I live near the Abingdon Postoffice! I will explain my position rationally. 1) we have laws and in accordance with those laws Walmart wants to move. If we start cherrypicking who can and can not move with no legal basis (which is what SOME here want) no one is safe. Next we can decide we don't like certian neighbors and refuse to sell houses to them. There was not a time to long ago that was legal!!!!! 2) If the real arguement was simply traffic alone and there was no way for Walmart to mitigate the problem I would agree they should not move there. That is what all these hearings are about is Walmart coming up with a workable plan for that site. There is a large portion (not all) of the anti-walmart group who is against the move because of the clientel and no other reason. If Shop rite was going to do the same thing they would be OK with that. I know this because when Wegman's looked at the sight they didn't seem to object too much. There is also a group who would like nothing to change and that too is not fair to the land owner. I will say that if the traffic problems can not be fixed Walmart should not move there but much of the objection is coming from people who are emotionally attached and refuse to objectively look at it. Based on your comments above you seem to be emotionally attatched to one outcome.
Steven Tobia January 17, 2013 at 06:43 PM
CB9678, There were actually a lot more than 87 opposing signatures as some households had multiple signatures but only one signature per household was counted to arrive at the 85% opposed above.
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 06:56 PM
OK just asking because as has been the case by some. People are liking to play fast and loose with numbers.
MLB January 17, 2013 at 07:01 PM
BTW I don't know about anyone else but since I have posting on this site, I have been receiving up to 200 spam emails a day. I have a spam filter to catch these but I am getting quite tired of it.
MLB January 17, 2013 at 07:02 PM
The main and most important issue with Walmart relocating is traffic-a huge problem. Second, they want to maintain a 190,000 sq. ft 24 hour a day store-also a problem for quality of life and protection of surrounding home values. People from all over shop at The Festival, Harford Mall, Kirklands, Ross, BB&B, Marshalls, Kohl's, restaurants & many other highly visited stores located in Bel Air- that is NOT a problem. It has nothing to do with clientele, that is your interjected objection to turn this into a discrimination issue when it doesn't apply. Wegmans is not plunk in the middle of residential developments or a school or a firehouse. Moving Walmart to Plumtree would be like putting another Harford Mall right next to Festival. The few people from Abingdon who support the move have been direct and said they want to relieve the traffic in Abingdon, so you may be one of those who just wants to move the traffic mess.
CB9678 January 17, 2013 at 07:18 PM
The zoning code is not meant to protect your home value. MLB with all due respect listen to some of the things coming out of the moths of people at the zoning hearings and protest and the stuff people spew on various websites. Clearly in SOME minds is a dislike for the stereotypical walmart shopper. Wegman's looked at the same sight the walmart is proposing and they did pass but no one started getting upset about the possibility. To be fair you moved into the development envelope. Did you all not understand what that meant and what would happen? Abingdon is very large. The Constant Friendship folks are the ones who are in it for the traffic relief. The Abingdon Post office is located on the otherside of 24 and 924!
MLB January 18, 2013 at 04:54 AM
CB: The politicians we elect are supposed to protect our interests even if the zoning code doesn't. I will repeat that people from all over the county and Baltimore come to Bel Air to shop and eat. They are not discouraged or prevented from shopping in Bel Air. I would have opposed Wegman's just as emphatically, even though I believe the studies would indicate 1/2 the traffic of Walmart. Whatever goes there should not generate the traffic that a super Walmart would, should not be open 24 hours a day. Most of us moved into this "development envelope" to improve our quality of life and enjoy the suburban tranquility. Stop blaming the residents who spend their time working and taking care of their families because they didn't chase down a zoning notice or monitor the newspapers for zoning changes. I live 6 miles north of the Plumtree site so I may not be as directly affected as others nearby but I certainly don't want Bel Air turned into White Marsh.
CB9678 January 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM
MLB I am not trying to be hostile. I am offended by some opponents whose arguement is alot of talk about things which are not legal reasons to stop it. I am also offended by the apathy of some. The rezoning of this property started back in 2005 and although it was finally rezoned 4 years later the only opponents where a small group of people opposed to anything that resembled development. They would have opposed houses on the site. The poloticians failed you if you believe that was their job. David Craig, Joe Woods, Capt Jim and others who claim to want to stop it all voted for or approved plans to change it to B-3. Wegmans looked at the site as early as 2008.
CB9678 January 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Reasons I have heard from some are "local shops deserve priority" This is not a good reason to stop it. You can not offer a preferential treatment to some business and not others. I have heard from some it will bring crime and trash, this is an obvious reference to the clientel they believe they will see and a desire to keep them out. The traffic arguement is the only legitimate one and IF walmart can mitigate it than there should be no reason to stop it. I grew up in a neighborhood suttounded by trees and a National Park on one side sitting on a river. When I go visit my parents who still live there it now has tons of houses there where the trees once were. It is sad in many respects but to expect that no one will build there was unreasonable and I believe there are some in the anti-walmart camp who some how think the same. The only way to ensure that is for you all to pool your money together and buy the property.

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