Wall-to-wall Walmarts in Harford County

Plans to shift store stir controversy

ABINGDON, Md. - You'll find plenty of shoppers at the Walmart in Abingdon, but some would give up that superstore for a super duper one elsewhere.

"Yes, I'd go because that's less stores that I'd have to go to," said shopper Margaret Lazzaro, "If it's bigger they'd have more stuff and I won't have to worry about going to other stores."

With interest in a new traffic study, the mega-retailer has flashed signs of moving out to move up.

Under the tentative plans, it appears the discounter would close its store in Constant Friendship only to build another one a few miles away at Plumtree Road and Route 924.

"This property that they're looking at has been a 'hot property'," said Harford County Economic Development Director Jim Richardson, "It's one of the last large pieces of developable real estate in Greater Bel Air area. So a lot of companies... I have talked to a lot of companies about locating there and looking at that property. We've not talked to Wal-Mart specifically though."

Dressing up his home to sell, Mel Stuney doesn't seem to mind like some of his neighbors in the Kings Charter community.

"(The traffic) is already bad," said Stuney, "It wouldn't make it any worse as far as I'm concerned."
"But then again you're not going to be here. Where are you going?"
"I'm going some place."

The proposed store in South Bel Air would be located just 10 miles from a new, similar superstore Walmart has opened off Route 1 in Fallston.

While some critics suggest that's oversaturation, others, like Margaret Lazzaro, say the more bargains the better.

"What if they wanted to move into your neighborhood?"
"They did," replied the Abingdon resident.
"Where are you at?"
"Right down here so it doesn't matter."

Residents are expected to comment on Walmart's tentative plans on Thursday at a public hearing on the county's master land use plan.

That meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm on Thursday in Harford Community College's Chesapeake Center dining room.


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