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On the street where they live: Neighbors ask for changes to plan

The residents of a Perryman neighborhood understand that they cannot stop development. Hartford County zoned the narrow strip of land between the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor for industrial development decades ago as part of a plan for the area to become a regional manufacturing and distribution hub. The residents get it, but they want the developers and the county to think carefully about access and traffic issues and the environmental impact of the recently proposed plan before moving ahead with it.

The proposal for Eastgate at Perryman comes from a Baltimore firm that envisions a "build-to-suit" development on the 243-acre parcel. The developer hopes the site will be home to distribution centers for retailers and consumer product companies. Two buildings are planned, at least initially -- there may be room for a third -- but nothing will happen until tenants are secured. In all, the buildings would offer more than 2.25 million square feet of space.

The residents object to the access route included in the proposal. Traffic -- including trucks and employees' vehicles -- would have to travel through their small neighborhood to enter the development. With the land zoned as light industrial, the tenants could generate truck traffic 24/7, not only increasing the noise but increasing the risk of accidents. The neighborhood would rather see the developer reroute traffic to Maryland Boulevard.

There are also concerns that the development will interfere with a Hartford County wellhead. The wellhead provides about 30 percent of the county's drinking water, and construction could reduce or even contaminate the water supply.

Because the community acted quickly, the developer is able to review the site plan and to consider alternatives. The community is also more than willing to work with the developer to make the project a success -- as long as it is not successful at the community's expense.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Two, million-square-feet buildings planned in Perryman industrial area," David Anderson, March 3, 2014

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