The following letter was sent from Gary Ambridge to Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Bob Cassilly, and Del. Susan McComas. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
Dear Elected State Officials:
There are several compelling reasons against building this Bel Air Walmart that its floor space alone will cover 4.21 acres of space, or the size of 12.6 football fields , and will generate an additional 10,000 cars a day onto our already overburdened roads. This figure does not include parking nor take into consideration of the second large parcel of land behind the Walmart zoned for big business. Recently, the SHA reversed its decision to allow access to Emmorton Road and did not provide a reason for this change that cannot but cripple our roads even more than they are now. They have already stated that Emmorton Road will need to be expanded to six lanes in order to accommodate this traffic. State regulations will compel Walmart to mitigate the traffic infrastructure only adjacent to their property; the rest of the cost will be on us as tax payers because we already don’t have enough taxes.
As was stated by a traffic study hired by Harford County on Nov. 2013: “…The SHA reviewed and determined that a MD 924 access would not be granted for the development. The bases for the decision is that the County roadways provide ample opportunity for access to the local roadway network with appropriate improvements…While the developer may desire an access on MD 924 to improve marketability, the addition of a MD 924 access does not provide a substantial transportation benefit to the overall roadway network…the SHA does not support a MD 924 access or a traffic signal with Bright Oaks Drive.” (Joseph Caloggero, The Traffic Group, 11-25-13 to Alex Rawls, Transportation Planner, Harford County)”
No one seems to take ownership for this decision. Our County Executive, Barry Glassman, indicated to me in a letter that he was not in a position to mediate with the Maryland State Highway Administration’s decision that reversed its earlier decision to grant access to Emmorton Road for Walmart: “…The county is not in a position to grant, deny, confirm, or regulate state highway access….” (2 20, 2015.) That letter, to me, also would preclude the County Council as an avenue for help. It would, of course, be a waste of time to contact Walmart.
Therefore, to whom shall we go for help with the State Highway administration? I feel it would be incumbent on us, as citizens and tax payers, to contact our state representatives who are in a position to help us redress the SHA’s decision to allow Walmart access to Emmorton Road. They have been elected to serve us, the voter, and I am certain that when re-election time comes along again, they will be there, with their hand out, asking for our money and vote.
We will certainly experience a degradation of both our quality of life and a plunge of property values if this Walmart is allowed access to Emmorton Road. Please write to me and indicate what specific steps you will take to reverse the latest SHA’s decision to allow Walmart access to Emmorton Road.