H.P. White Laboratories

In 2009, the HLT protected 99 acres of land from development.

H.P. White Laboratories

H.P. White Laboratories is a munitions research and testing facility in Harford County. The Harford Land Trust found itself in a unique position when our board was asked to evaluate H. P. White’s land and business situation as a result of the company’s request of a zoning change. The business wanted to expand its operations, and to do so, would require upzoning Agricultural (AG) zoned land to General Industrial (GI) zoning. The HLT board gathered information from local organizations, neighbors and people who care about the environment. We spoke with the landowners, investigated the property, and with the help of concerned members of the community, considered whether the zoning change would be positive. HLT decided to take action.

When H. P. White’s Vice President, Eric Dunn, presented HLT with their zoning situation and business plan, we realized that the proposal was a measured expansion and that the company did not need, or plan to use, the benefits of full GI zoning. HLT found that the landowner was willing to accept severe restrictions that would keep building and development to the agreed limits and prevent any future residential development of the land. After of legal negotiation and creation of a permanent deed restriction that runs with the land, the HLT supported the requested change in zoning to GI. HLT knew that it could help protect natural resources and at the same time enable a neighbor to have a measured expansion of its business operations even if that meant the property would be zoned General Industrial.

According to the agreement, the HLT will monitor the restrictions, limitations, and covenants on the deed to the land and those restrictions stay with the land in perpetuity. The deed restriction easement is one of many that the HLT holds. In this case, the deed is restricted in order to ensure that development and construction activities stay within the negotiated area and that impervious surface is minimal. These restrictions are in addition to all local, state, and federal laws that are applicable to the future development including stormwater management.

According to the agreement, the HLT will monitor the restrictions, limitations, and covenants on the deed to the land and those restrictions stay with the land in perpetuity. The deed restriction easement is one of many that the HLT holds. In this case, the deed is restricted in order to ensure that development and construction activities stay within the negotiated area and that impervious surface is minimal. These restrictions are in addition to all local, state, and federal laws that are applicable to the future development including stormwater management.

Saving land and protecting a watershed sometimes necessitates rethinking the connection landowners have with their surroundings. The White project involved protecting land from unfettered commercial development and residential sprawl, while at the same time improving a business’s long-term viability. The H. P. White Laboratory case is an example of why we need a strong land trust working in our community. It is for that reason that we are trained to assist landowners in evaluating their options and then manage that land in perpetuity to ensure it is safeguarded by ongoing stewardship.