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Harford County Executive Opposes Walmart Move

Walmart officially reached out to the Harford County Council about plans to build a new store in Bel Air.

issued a statement Tuesday opposing Walmart's proposed move from .

Walmart has at the intersection of Plumtree Road and Emmorton Road, or MD Route 924, in Bel Air. If the new store opens, the location in Constant Friendship will close and all the employees will move to the new store.

The plan for the Bel Air location was met with backlash from the community back in 2011, with residents along the Route 924 corridor holding meetings and expressing opposition to .

The opposition base remains strong against Walmart, with one online petition gaining 400 signatures. A recent informational meeting held at Patterson Mill High School drew more than 800 people, many of whom were vocal against the project.

"While Walmart can, by right under the law, develop this property, I stand with our citizens and urge Walmart to reconsider plans to relocate from Abingdon to Bel Air," Craig said in his statement (view Craig's full statement below).

See also:

The following is the county executive's unedited statement:

“Harford County Government has been officially notified by representatives of Walmart of their interest in relocating from the current location at Constant Friendship near Abingdon to a site on Plumtree Road near Bel Air. The proposal includes plans for a Walmart Supercenter at the Bel Air location, which is a significant expansion beyond the size of the current store.

“I have serious concerns regarding the proposed construction of a Walmart at the site discussed. It is in my opinion the wrong location and not characteristic of the smaller type of retail we had hoped would complement the existing community shopping centers in the area. But more importantly, I have serious concerns about how the proposed project will impact traffic and public safety.

“I feel that it would in the long run be better for the county if Walmart were to re-invest in their Constant Friendship location. All too often, we are quick to abandon older facilities and communities in favor of new locations without looking at ways to revitalize what we already have. Now that the state has put the finishing touches on the new interchange at 24 and 924, the traffic situation in that area has improved greatly, and the current location is much better equipped to handle the volume of traffic that a store such as Walmart generates.

“While Walmart can, by right under the law, develop this property, I stand with our citizens and urge Walmart to reconsider plans to relocate from Abingdon to Bel Air. My administration is interested in working with Walmart to find a more amenable solution that will allow them to expand at their current Constant Friendship/Abingdon location. I encourage citizens to stay engaged in this process and to let their voices be heard. I hope that we can work together on a plan that is better for our citizens and our community.”

CB9678 August 01, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Karl what small buisnesses are trying to locate there? The owner wants to sell the land he should not have to ask you permission to do to his land what it is zoned for and open a buisness of his choice! The time to complain was 4 years ago.
CB9678 August 01, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The store is expanding hence it will need to hire MORE employees, additionally to build the store will create more construction jobs. Lauren what smaller buisness wants to open there? Maybe they should bid against Wallmart for the land.
CB9678 August 01, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Should they have to wait to exand their buisness later when they can afford and want to erxand now and have the option to. If it was Bloom's Broom and they wanted to ad on now should they have to wait?
Karl Schuub August 01, 2012 at 06:02 PM
This is about smart growth - the appropriateness of development to it's surrounds including existing neighborhoods. If Brooms Bloom wanted to expand nobody would complain because it's a farm, they make ice cream, ice cream sales help preserve the farm. Now if Broom's Bloom wanted to build an indoor soccer stadium with 500 car parking lot it might raise eyebrows. The community has a right to complain when developement impedes their quality of life.
CB9678 August 01, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Yes but the zoning was for a large buisness and they should have complained 4 years ago. No one did at the time! Free market dictates this. So Karl are you in favor of anti-free market regulations
Karl Schuub August 01, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Never said that...what I said is that citizens have a right to complain if it's 4 years ago or today - granted 4 years ago would have been more wise and certainly more effective. If your question really is do I think anybody has a right to build anything they want anywhere they want then the answer is no I don't.
Gareth August 01, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I do not want the Walmart to move either, but it boggles my mind how ignorant people are about what local government can and cannot do. For starters, there is no "City Council" as a couple of posters have said. Either they mean the County Council or they might be thinking of the Bel Air Town Commissioners (alough as it's not in the town limits they have no role.) Also, since the property is zoned B3, a business like Walmart can locate there if they own or buy the property. If the County were to specifically exclude Walmart, they would be taken to court and would lose easily. The County cannot legally say no to Walmart yes to Whole Foods (for example). Our only hope is that Walmart can be persuaded to expand at their current location, but that will probably take some incentives from the County (i.e. money). Realistically, even if Walmart doesn't move in, a 17 acre site that close to Bel Air that is zoned B3 will not stay vacant for long.
Belairmom August 01, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Grannie, how about the Aberdeen one, that's closer to Darlington anyway? If you are looking for easy access, you won't find it at the Plumtree one either.
HappieGrannie August 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM
JenLynn/Emily: if they put one out this way I would not fight it. Wouldn't mind one out here. Belairmom: I am not a fan of the Aberdeen one since I find it poorly managed and from where I live and work the one in Aberdeen is not closer then the Plumtree one will be. As for getting in the planned one on Plumtree the plans make it look fairly easy
HappieGrannie August 01, 2012 at 08:47 PM
No just trying to get there on that part of Rt 1 is the issue not the turn into the store. Too many people not paying attention when making lane changes
HappieGrannie August 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Lauren: Have you not been listening? They are enlarging the store so not only will they move present employees there but they will need lots of new ones. And some of us prefer to shop closer then Fallston
Emily August 01, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Botttom line...........Bel Air doesn't want the Walmart......nuff said.
Jeff August 02, 2012 at 12:27 AM
All Craig is doing is being a politician, pandering to the anti-Walmarters by appearing to be on their side, but isn't his name signed on the zoning change approving it? Didn't the County Council approve it? The zoning is in place, the Walmart is coming, complain all you want. No laws are being broken, unless the County tries to "exclude" Walmart like some are saying. The landowner has the right to sell his land to the highest bidder & the bidder purchasing the land, as long as the property has the proper zoning, can build what they want as long as it is in compliance with the zoning. As I believe I saw on early stories or in the Aegis, I cannot recall, but there was a post or letter from someone of the Friends of Harford (FOH), talking about when the zoning was changed they were the only ones to stand up & raise an issue, none of the 800+ anti-Walmarters who were @ Patterson Mill a few weeks ago were there. None of the now "outraged" politicians, who approved the zoning change then raised an issue, they were for it. Now, Mr. Craig, who aspires to higher office outside of Harford County, & gave away county taxpayer money earlier this year to prove it, now "Stands with the Citizens of Harford County." You cannot make this stuff up. The store will be built & I am sure when it is it will exceed the sales projections Walmart expects to see. The fact is the zoning is in place, the store will be built, it is too late to stop, & nothing can be done to stop it. Scream all you want.
EMMS August 02, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Those addressing the current zoning status are correct. Even if Walmart decides against moving to the Plumtrre location, there will most certainly be a different retailer who will happily take advantage of this prime location. It's a shame the community is now finding itself in such a frustrating position. The lesson for us all is to become more aware and involved in our community so our voices are heard when it matters most.
CB9678 August 02, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Well Karl I think you need to paint your house because it upsets me!
Aaron August 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM
I don't have a problem with a neighborhood size store going into this site. I do feel it should not be so large that it needs to open up into route 924. It should just be sized to use Plumtree Rd and Bel Air Parkway via the new Blue Spruce Dr. Please leave a path of evergreen trees and bicycle path along 924 not extra traffic and traffic lights.
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Gareth August 02, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Well, he said he hopes to work with Walmart to see how they can be persuaded to stay in Abingdon. Sounds to me like there might be some monetary incentives on offer to do so. Best of luck to him. I hope Walmart is willing to talk. What else can he do? He can't unilaterally stop them from moving.
Mike-21015 August 02, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Yep, I agree, we are somewhat screwed, as far as the zoning goes, the plot is essentially up for grabs..... I would love to see "their" traffic study results, and compare with an independent traffic study..... It does scare me a bit thinking about all of the "could happen" scenarios if this Walmart does end up here, and it is a 24-hr super-center.... I do hope many of those things are more fears than they are facts... I know the Fallston Walmart is in more of a business setting, whereas this would be smacked right around dozens of neighborhoods... I had heard that this plot, and many other much larger plots around Bel-Air are still owned by this same owner? Anyone know anything about this? I would like to pay more attention to other vacant lots around, so we can be more pro-active looking ahead, so this doesn't happen again...
Common Sense August 02, 2012 at 06:58 PM
David Craig will be rewarded abundantly with votes if he does all in his power and keeps Walmart in their present location. It does not fit in the Bel Air South Community.
Common Sense August 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM
David Craig will be rewarded abundantly with votes if he does all in his power and keeps Walmart at their present location. It does not fit in the Bel Air South Community.
Common Sense August 02, 2012 at 07:02 PM
If you have not done so all ready please write your county representatives. Here are their addresses: County Executive David R. Craig Harford County Government 220 South Main Street Bel Air, MD 21014 Director of Planning and Zoning Pete C. Gutwald 220 South Main Street 2nd Floor Bel Air, MD 21014 County Councilman District 'C' James V. McMahan 212 South Bond Street 1st Floor Bel Air, MD 21014
Patrick B. August 03, 2012 at 09:35 PM
This has got to be the dumbest location I can think of traffic wise.Even during light traffic during the day this area gets bottlenecked easy.At one time a rifle and pistol range was supposed to bulit here believe it or not.It was going to be a club but the backers could never put together the money and I am sure neighbors wouldn't have like that idea very much.
Jeff August 05, 2012 at 05:51 PM
While it is too late to stop the Walmart, I hope all the anti-Walmarters have learned a lesson that the time to show up isn't when it's too late, & start screaming @ meetings & instead of being civil. The time is to show up is for the hearings about zoning changes, because obviously no one cared to do so when the opportunity was given, except for the Friends of Harford, who were ignored by Craig, who signed the zoning change after it was approved by the County Council. The same politicians who now are "Standing with the citizens" on this issue. I sure hope "the citizens" aren't buying these politicians new found "Anti-Walmart religion" & can see thru their smokecreen. Very good rditorial in The Aegis on Friday about this matter.
Mark August 05, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I think the new location would be great for Walmart and the surrounding area.. That so called improved new interchange at 24 and 924 really does nothing to help access that poorly planned mess of a shopping area where they are now... The new location would not only improve the area but you would have at least 3ways to enter and exit.
Mark August 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I think the new location would be great for Walmart and the surrounding area.. That so called improved new interchange at 24 and 924 really does nothing to help access that poorly planned mess of a shopping area where they are now... The new location would not only improve the area but you would have at least 3ways to enter and exit.
Penelope Patch October 21, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Mike, I agree with you. I do not shop at Walmart either and am perplexed as to why we need so many in our area. It sounds like the "deal is done" and I think that what we are currently seeing is phony political posturing. I would hate to see Craig buy off Walmart with taxpayer dollars, which would be a horrible use of public money. Maybe the best way for everyone to voice their opinion to Walmart is...just don't shop there. For the folks who approved the zoning change, vote them out of office. Why do we keep shopping in places that don't care anything about us? They don't even treat their own employees well. We have more influence than we think and on many different levels.
Penelope Patch October 21, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I hope that if Craig runs, that the rest of the State pay close attention to the way he has conducted business here. I have seen this administration move so far left it is touching the right. They know what is best for us and its sickening. STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY ON STUPID STUFF, Mr. Craig. There is nothing to be done about Walmart because the politicans have long signed it off through zoning. It serves us right and as a life-long Harford County citizen I am so disappointed in what our county has become. They make it all look good from the outside, but there's a lot of dirt going on in the inside. As a citizen, why not register our sentiment with Walmart by not shopping there?
Ahmad0001 December 18, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Well, he said he hopes to work with Walmart to see how they can be persuaded to stay in Abingdon. http://www.onlinedatastoragesite.com/softwares/safeguard-my-kid-online-choosing-parental-manage-software.html
selnhms April 14, 2013 at 01:36 PM
A smaller business couldn't afford to buy the property and run a profit. If you are selling a commercial property of that size you will need a large corporation for it to make financial sense. Wow we really need financial literacy classes to be mandatory in High Schools.


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