Harford County officials may have been reluctant to talk about a Wal-Martcoming to the Emmorton area south of Bel Air when the subject first came up more than a year ago, but the developer of the site off Route 924 and Plumtree Road is moving forward with the project regardless.
Legal notices were published in The Aegis last week announcing a community input meeting "for a proposedWal-Mart and other commercial uses" on 33.7 acres on the southwest side of the intersection of Route 924 and Plumtree Road.
The input meeting will be held on July 19 at the Patterson Mill High School auditorium from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Despite the legal notices being published, the county had not posted the meeting on its own website as of 5 p.m. Monday.
According to the legal notice, "the purpose of this meeting is for the applicant to provide information to the community regarding the proposed commercial development (including draft plans for the site layout) and to allow citizens to ask questions and make comments and suggestions."
In the spring of 2011, as the county was planning for its latest Master Land Use Plan update, planning and zoning and other county officials refused to discuss the possibility of a Wal-Mart coming to the Plumtree site, saying there had been no plan submitted or any discussions with Wal-Mart. They stonewalled members of the public who said they were concerned about the impact such a project would have on traffic and the surrounding area.
Wal-Mart at the time also declined to say if it was interested in the Plumtree site or if it was considering moving north and closing its store at Route 24 and I-95, less than two miles away from the Plumtree site.
According to county and state tax records, the 33-acre site is owned by Evergreen Business Trust. All but three acres of the property were zoned R-3 high density residential until 2009, when the entire site was comprehensively rezoned to B-3 business by the Harford County Council, as part of a countywide review of zoning. A contract purchaser of the site requested the change, and there was some public opposition to making it, many people believing at the time that the property was being eyed by Wegmans, which did eventually build a store farther south on Route 24 near the existing Wal-Mart.
Despite the other concerns from the public about Wal-Mart moving to Plumtree, the land use plan update that the county council eventually passed earlier this year by the county council had no impact on the site being developed for a Wal-Mart or any other large commercial building.
Though the site is entirely wooded, it is surrounded by high density commercial development on three sides, while Route 24 serves as a divider on the west side.
Additional details on the project were not immediately available.
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