The following letter regarding the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Bel Air was drafted by the Abingdon Community Council and addressed to the director of community affairs for Wal-Mart and officials in Harford County Government. The letter dated August 27, 2012 was also addressed to community members in Abingdon, Emmorton and Bel Air South. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
The “Abingdon” Community Council, which is also sometimes referred to by Harford County Government as the “Abingdon/Emmorton” Community Council was reconstituted in February 2011. Since that time, this council has closely followed rumors of the relocation of Walmart from Constant Friendship. The proposed site at Plumtree Road and Emmorton Road falls within the Abingdon/Emmorton area boundary as defined by Harford County. Members have watched this process unfold over the last year, attended the community input meeting July 19, 2012, thoroughly reviewed the site plan and information provided by Walmart, and actively sought community input. As members of the community appointed by the county executive to this council to represent and advocate for the views of this community, we unanimously oppose the relocation of Walmart from Constant Friendship to Plumtree Road. While we recognize the market demands on Walmart’s business and their legal right to pursue business as they see fit, we also hope that they recognize the value of their standing in this community for many years and the responsibility with which that comes.
The council recommends the following:
• That Walmart, if it deems necessary to expand their business, work with the community, county and state government, and the Constant Friendship shopping center to propose a site plan at the current location that utilizes the already improved infrastructure in that area.
• That Walmart consider its responsibility as a longstanding member of this community and act accordingly in all facets of its operations.
• That Walmart enter into a Community Benefit Agreement which identifies specific initiatives and partnerships they will undertake in our community that signify their intent to participate in and enhance life for all members of this community.
• That county government, by way of the Planning and Zoning office, the Development Advisory Committee, and other relevant departments and offices thoroughly review plans submitted by Walmart and reject any plans that do not adequately address the current and future infrastructure, quality of life, environmental standards, and economic development needs of the Abingdon-Emmorton-Bel Air South community.
• That various community groups, organizations, and businesses work together for a unified purpose, which shall be the improvement of all aspects of the entire community both in this process as well as future developments.
• That this unified effort closely monitor the proposals from Walmart and the reviewing actions of county government throughout this process to ensure the thorough and proper review of any development proposal.
• That those individual members of the community who are interested in assisting in this unified effort contact this council, their local Home Owner’s Association, other community organizations, and local elected officials, as well as attend all public meetings held as desired.
This council was created for the benefit of the residents and businesses in this community and to act as a liaison between members of the community and Harford County Government. We are resolved that the site plan design currently made public for a Walmart Supercenter at Plumtree Road and Emmorton Road inadequately addresses major concerns regarding traffic, public safety, environmental standards, and generally does not conform to the predominant nature of the immediate vicinity. We request that this plan is withdrawn and replaced by a proposal to stay at the current location in Constant Friendship in whatever capacity deemed necessary by Walmart.
Cynthia Hergenhahn, Chair
C. David Copenhaver