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Petition: Keep Wal-mart out of Bel Air

17 September 2012

Why should we keep Walmart out of Bel Air?

To allow Walmart to enter Bel Air would be to invite the death of downtown, to see more small businesses go out of business, and to see our currently lively bubbly Main Street go limp as more shops close shutters.  First Fridays, Third Thursdays, Small Business Saturdays and the twice weekly farmer’s market are just some of the regular events that brought downtown Bel Air to life.  This is a time when all of us should think about how to strengthen these initiatives and encourage more of Harford County’s own entrepreneurs.  If we spend our money locally, then good jobs will stay in the county.

Today we have a downtown where people run into friends and neighbors, shopkeepers know customers, and young people can walk or bike on their own to the library or to the store.

Given the dismal record of Walmart with respect to working conditions, wages, rights of workers and rights of communities, it is bad enough that we have Walmart in the county at all, but given that it is there, why abandon the existing site and build a new one in Bel Air?  Originally the reason was given was that they wanted to expand the store, but apparently they refused the County’s offer to facilitate expanding the current location.  Some say that they aren’t interested in adding groceries at the Constant Friendship site because they are worried about competition from the nearby Wegman’s.

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Entry of Walmart would require the good citizens of Harford County to allow for the redrawing parts of Main Street, which 2-3 miles south of downtown is called Emmorton Road and then Rt 924 but is still essentially the same Main Street that leads to the heart of Harford County.  With Walmart in town however, it would need to be widened and the store would need to be given access to Rt 924.  Why – solely to accommodate the traffic to the “superstore” that Walmart wants to build, abandoning its existing store like an old toy that it got tired of playing with.   What will happen to the small and not-so-small but not big-box stores of Festival Shopping Center – will they be abandoned as well.  Empty buildings dotting downtown and continuing along Main Street all the way to Festival and punctuated like a giant exclamation mark by the ghost of Walmart, if it leaves its current location.

Please write to your County Officials!

[On top of the vacant stores and falling wages, consider this: we have heard that unlike the existing regular store the Walmart “Superstore” may also be allowed to sell guns.  What will happen to the Harford County of good jobs, local businesses, low-traffic residential areas, active downtown and being able to send your kids to school or even across the street without worrying about guns?]

Contact information copied from

County and State Contacts

Your voice is critical in the process. Make your voice known by writing, calling, emailing or using our online Petition

Don’t know what to say? Click here for a sample letter to edit, print and mail!

County Executive

David Craig
County Executive- Harford County Government
Phone: 410.638.3350
220 South Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014

Harford County Planning and Zoning

C. Pete Gutwald
410.638.3228 Mr. Gutwald
410.638.3103 P&Z
410.879.2000 P&Z
220 South Main Street
2nd Floor
Bel Air, MD 21014

State Highway Administration 

Rich Zeller
(410) 545-5598
State Highway Administration
707 N. Calvert St. C102
Baltimore, MD.

Harford County Council

“Billy” Boniface,
Council President
410-638-3525 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

Dion F. Guthrie
District A 
410-638-3521 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

Joseph M. Woods
District B
410-638-3520 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

James “Capt’n Jim” McMahan
District C 
410-638-3523 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

Chad R. Shrodes
District D 
410-638-3524 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

Richard C. Slutzky
District E
410-638-3522 Council Office
18 Office Street
Bel Air, MD. 21014

Mary Ann Lisanti
District F 
410-638-3526 Council Office

Find State and Federal Representatives at this link-

Find your Harford County Council representative at this link-

People’s Council

Lisa Sheehan
People’s Council
18 Office Street
2nd floor
Bel Air, MD 21014

People’s Counsel Citizen’s Advisory Board: The board consists of 7 citizens appointed by the Council. The main purpose of the board is to review applications for rezoning, special exceptions, variances and other types of zoning requests to determine whether it is in the interest of the public for the People’s Counsel to oppose the applications. The board meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, usually at 7:30 p.m. in the County Council Chamber.


From → Civics, Economy

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