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Board Member Sally LaBarre (L) and I review various projects being planned in Harford County.

I recently attended the annual meeting of the Friends of Harford, Inc., an organization who has become the voice of citizens for responsible land use. I’m a member.

Established over two decades ago, the organization focuses on Harford’s land use issues, working for a fair balance between the rights of those wanting to develop a property, and the rights of neighbors who might be impacted by that development.

The Friends’ annual report was unsettling, as it detailed the growth of haphazard development as the result of negligent, reckless and irresponsible decisions made by Harford County’s elected officials. It’s quite clear that if they are not stopped, our community will become another overly built, traffic-congested nightmare.

Land use is controlled by the County Executive and County Council members. For almost 20 years, an entrenched administration has kept citizens in the dark, while perpetuating favoritism to developers and large donors. The County Council has fully supported this travesty.

In District C, a Walmart project the size of EIGHT football fields and attracting 20,000 cars would have decimated the area and while the project was shelved because of public outcry and money, there is still nothing to stop another monster project from taking its place.

Various other examples of poor planning or abuse of proper zoning were cited at the meeting.

Board member Bill Onorato talked about how zoning for the Eva Mar development was changed to meet the needs of one developer under the cover of darkness. “When challenged, the County Council response was that’s the way things are done in Harford County,” he said.

Once a farm, the four story, 500 unit senior residential project takes up 47 acres. It was plopped down in the middle of a residential neighborhood and is equivalent to a major commercial operation. There will be further development of 144 single family homes of the remaining 154 acre property.

Morita Bruce, co-president of the group, pointed out that under current procedures, amendments may be added to a bill on the day it is to be voted on, completely changing the focus of the bill without allowing citizens time to review it.

This is not the way to run our county.

I love the scenic beauty of Harford County and how it adds to our quality of life. This is why I have decided to run for County Council, District C.

Our citizens need an advocate on the Council who will insist upon transparency and putting the needs of the community first. An elected official, who will question how proposals will impact our quality of life and strive to make the right decisions to prevent costly fixes by taxpayers in the future. I am that person.

Take a stand and help invest in your community by joining my campaign. You can volunteer or contribute by going to the tabs on my website home page. Keep informed by liking and following my Facebook page: Karen Kukurin for Harford County Council C.

Authorization, Friends of Karen Kukurin, Treasurer Rita Scharmann

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