Harford County Extends Warehouse Moratorium By 45 Days, Will Reconsider Issue After Summer Recess
HARFORD COUNTY - On Tuesday, at the last county council session before the summer recess, the Harford County Council approved a bill prolonging the moratorium on new warehouse construction and approval by 45 days.
The bill initially proposed an extension of 90 days, but modifications made during the meeting halved the moratorium extension. Consequently, the halt on warehouse construction is set to last until October 11.
The decision to extend the moratorium won the council's approval with a 4-2 vote. Bennett, Council President Patrick Vincenti, and council members Tony Giangiordano and James Reilly voted in favor, while council members Aaron Penman and Jessica Boyle-Tsottles voted against. Council member Dion Guthrie was absent.
Before the final vote on the bill, the council passed several amendments, including the one which shortened the extension from 90 to 45 days. All present council members except Bennett and Reilly voted for this amendment. Giangiordano voiced his preference for a 90-day extension but acknowledged that a shorter one was more likely to be approved.
More than a dozen Harford County residents expressed their support for a moratorium extension, including Perryman resident Kate McDonald.
"Its time to stop these ridiculously sized freight distribution centers with all their diesel truck traffic frim ruining our county and costing the taxpayers million in infrastructure costs," McDonald told the council.
The initial moratorium, passed on April 18, was intended to last six months but was subsequently reduced to 90 days, with a clause permitting a potential 90-day extension.
The community-driven 3P Protect Perryman Peninsula coalition played a significant role in the moratorium's passage. They rallied the Perryman community to oppose a proposed 5.2 million-square-foot warehouse project, raising concerns about potential impacts on property values, local ecosystems, and existing traffic pressures from current warehouses.
Following the passage of the extension, council member Jacob Bennett acknowledged that the window is tight to extend the moratorium further. The council is scheduled to resume on September 5, and any bill requires 30 days between its introduction and the ensuing public hearing. The earliest opportunity for any legislation presented at the September 5th council meeting to have a public hearing would be at the October 10th council meeting, one day before the moratorium's expiration.
"That 45-day extension will give us a very tight window to get legislation passed when we return," Bennett said.
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