Residents gather, vow to stop planned Wal-Mart

June 24, 1994|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Sun Staff Writer

Wal-Mart spokesmen needed no introduction this week at a meeting to discuss construction of a Wal-Mart store on Reisterstown Road. They didn't show up.

"We were going to attend, but we decided we didn't want to be used by people trying to get elected," Wal-Mart spokesman Frank Howard said afterward.

The meeting was sponsored by state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger and Del. Richard Rynd, both Democrats running for re-election in the 11th District.

About 200 people from the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon area attended the Tuesday night meeting at the old Hannah More School in Reisterstown.

They vowed to fight to the last Wal-Mart potato peeler to stop the giant retailing chain from building an outlet at Reisterstown Road and the proposed Dolfield Boulevard in Owings Mills.

The proposed site for the 149,000-foot store is 16 wooded acres next to Pleasant Hills, where 287 townhouses have been built since 1989.

Residents in Pleasant Hills and nearby developments say the additional traffic and noise created by the store would destroy the peace and character of their neighborhoods.

"People are involved and will stay involved until Wal-Mart is gone," Mr. Rynd said at the meeting, to thunderous applause.

Ms. Hollinger said proponents of the Wal-Mart plan should be ready to face the public on the issue.

"We've met with their coordinating council, and we're going to meet with their Chamber of Commerce, so we're not afraid of discussing our store," said Wal-Mart's Mr. Howard. "But we didn't want to get in the middle of a political situation."

He said Wal-Mart expects to submit a development plan to Baltimore County by mid-July.

The property on Reisterstown Road was rezoned for major business in 1988, a classification appropriate for a Wal-Mart store.

The site is in the Owings Mills corridor, one of two areas (the other is White Marsh) that the county's master plan has targeted for residential and commercial development.

Before a store can be built, there will be a community input meeting, a zoning hearing and appeals of any decision to the Board of Appeals and to Circuit Court.

"We don't want it, period," said Vickie Green at the meeting.

"There is nothing to negotiate."

Said Barbara Haskell of the Pleasant Hills Homeowners Association, "We're not going to let Wal-Mart run our neighborhoods and our lifestyle. We're going to fight them in any forum we can find in the courts and in county government."

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