From Nina Albert, Walmart Director of Community Affairs:
While we will not be participating in person at tonight’s meeting, we are providing a brief summary of our position, below, with respect to the new store we are proposing to build at the southwest corner of Plumtree Road and Maryland Route 924.
Our new store will meet the needs of many in the community.
• Our plans to relocate our Abingdon store are based on customer input and our plans to better serve our customers. Our customers are looking for convenience, affordability and a shopping experience that we cannot provide at our current location.
• The new store will provide approximately 100 new jobs in an area where unemployment remains high and opportunities are limited.
• More than 2,500 area residents have signed petitions supporting our plans, a reflection of broad community support.
The County has appropriately designated the proposed site in Bel Air for our intended use. No zoning change is required. The site has been designated for our type of commercial activity for more than three decades.
We are addressing traffic impact as required by the County code.
• According to Harford County’s 2013 Annual Growth Report, the intent of the County Code is to “create a mechanism that requires proposed development to make appropriate and reasonable road improvements based on the proposed development’s impact to the road.”
• We have proposed $4 million worth of road improvements that we believe meet this requirement.
• We believe that it is not “appropriate and reasonable” to require that we make $6 million to $10 million worth of improvements to roads and intersections that are not close to our project site and would be only slightly affected by our store traffic.
We remain hopeful that we and the County can reach agreement through the usual administrative channels and that our project can move forward for the benefit of many in the community.