The Abingdon Community Council met at the Abingdon Branch of the Harford County Public Library on Monday evening, February 27. Public attendance was light. There was a discussion of how to go about increasing community participation. Meeting dates and community council information is disseminated through the Harford County web site, District A Councilman Dion Guthrie’s newsletters, the Abingdon Community Council Facebook page and Abingdon Community Council eblasts.
Harford County Deputy Lieutenant H.J. Dougherty reported on the monthly crime statistics for Sectors 30 and 40. Incidents for robberies, burglaries and motor vehicle theft were relatively stable or up slightly in comparison to the same time period last year. Meeting attendees expressed concern over the continued speeding problems on the State Route 24/ Interstate 95 overpass. Lt. Dougherty reported that there is a traffic task force working on this situation. Another traffic issue of concern voiced by attendees is the intersection of Abingdon Road/ Singer Road and State Route 24. The right turn lane on Abingdon Road has been reconfigured with a short yield and/or merge lane and a concrete barrier that directs the traffic onto State Route 24. Better road markings or more descriptive signs would be helpful to better identify the proper use of this lane. Work at this intersection is a Maryland State Highway project because they are responsible for all intersections on state highways such as State Route 24.
Work is continuing on the traffic calming devices that run through the Cedarday community. A subcommittee of residents was established to work with the county on this issue. Communication problems have led to misunderstandings about the location of some of these installations. There is concern that they will obstruct resident driveways. The speed limit through the community will be a posted 25 MPH with the section near Route 136 at 30 MPH. Road work will resume, weather permitting, on or about March 1 with an expected completion date around the end of May.
The Boulevard at Box Hill will have a J.C. Penney on its site. It is expected that more shopping venues will be under contract by the end of May after the developers attend a retail conference in Las Vegas. The slow economy has deterred or slowed business interest and commitment.
Plans are underway for a new 129 detached single family home subdivision on the east side of the Laurel Bush Road and Hookers Mill Road intersection. There will be entrances to the subdivision onto both Laurel Bush and Hookers Mill Roads.
Maps of the recently drawn council, legislative and senate districts were presented. The Abingdon area is now represented by Harford County Councilmen Joe Woods, Mary Ann Lisanti and Dion Guthrie.
District B Councilman Joe Woods reported that master plan amendments will be completed by Thursday, March 1, and the Harford County Council will vote on the final Master Plan and Land Use Element Plan at the March 6 meeting. Woods has added amendments for watershed protections in the Abingdon area, specifically covering James Run, Winters Run and Bynum Run. There are also amendments concerning ground water protections and development setbacks from waterways.
Woods discussed controversy over the inclusion in the Master Plan and Land Use Element Plan of an arts center on the Emily Bayless Graham property. He stated that at this time, the property is not owned by Harford County and that there are parties contesting the will of the estate. The future of this property is unsettled and therefore putting a designation for this site into the master plan is premature and improper. Woods stated that Harford County constituents have called him to voice concerns about this project and that none of these comments have been favorable. The Joppatowne Community Council is upset that they would receive a garbage transport site in their district while Abingdon becomes the county arts center. The Fallston Community Council is concerned that funding for an arts center will preempt that community’s need for a new elementary school building. Woods reported that because of the controversy, the Harford County Council will be very unlikely to vote for funds for the arts center project.
District A County Councilman Dion Guthrie reported that Harford County budget hearings are proceeding. County Executive David Craig and all of the Harford County Councilmen are worried about Governor Martin O Malley’s plan to transfer partial economic responsibility for teacher pension to the county. The initial annual cost to Harford County, if successful, would be $9 million and would escalate to $15 million within the following years of implementation.
The next meeting of the Abingdon Community Council is scheduled for Monday, March 26, 2012, at 6:30 P.M. at the Abingdon Branch of the Harford County Public Library. Public attendance is encouraged.