Wal-Mart on Wednesday submitted to the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning a revised traffic impact analysis for its proposed Bel Air Supercenter, solidifying the company’s plans to proceed without access to MD 924.
The revised traffic analysis is based on site access along an extended Blue Spruce Drive, with secondary access to Plumtree Road and Bel Air South Parkway. County planning officials required a revised analysis of area traffic flows after the State Highway Administration denied Wal-Mart’s original request to access MD Route 924 for the site’s main entrance. Hundreds of area residents have decried the Superstore development, saying that it will snarl traffic in an already congested area.
Relatedly, the current landowner of the 33-acre site that includes the proposed Supercenter has scrapped plans for two of three additional lots at the site that were slated for future development.
In a Nov. 25 letter to Harford County Planner Alex Rawls, The Traffic Group, which represents Wal-Mart, said that areas of the overall site previously submitted for approval as Lots 4 and 5, and assumed to be for a specialty retailer and a gas station, were eliminated “to maintain more forestation onsite” and were therefore removed from the traffic analysis.
Bel Air attorney Robert Lynch, representing landowner Evergreen Business Trust, confirmed the move, although county officials said as of today they had not yet received formal reforestation and preliminary plans with Lots 4 and 5 removed. Together, the proposed lots total approximately 2.8 acres bordered by the planned Supercenter parking lot and MD 924.
Rawls said on Monday that eliminating future development Lots 4 and 5 from the traffic analysis would result in a reduced number of estimated trips accessing the overall site.
The revised traffic analysis submitted last week is currently under review by the Department of Planning and Zoning, according to Director Pete Gutwald. The lengthy submission includes estimated 2015 peak hour traffic volumes, and analyses of nearby intersection capacity and queuing.
Gutwald’s department is responsible for approving the development, including the sufficiency of Wal-Mart’s previously submitted traffic mitigation plan based on the revised traffic analysis. With zoning in place that allows for a big box retailer on the site, county approval of the Supercenter is based on adherence to established standards and regulations.
In his Nov. 25 letter, The Traffic Group Vice President Joseph Caloggero made the case for approval of the Wal-Mart traffic mitigation plan, writing: “Based on the data and analysis presented in this analysis, the results show that the roadway and signalization improvements significantly improve the traffic operations in the area.”
In addition to submitting the traffic analysis, The Traffic Group said that Wal-Mart plans bicycle lanes and sidewalks as required by county and state authorities.
A copy of the Nov. 25 letter from The Traffic Group appears below. The entire published submission can be found here: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/PlanningZoning/Download/2023-1496.pdf