The Harford County public works department issued a stop work order Wednesday on the Abingdon Woods development, halting all work on the development authorized by the grading permit due to the “lack of a valid forest conservation plan.” The county reversed its stance on the Abingdon Woods development’s forest conservation plan in a supplemental memorandum filed Tuesday and requested to have the forest conservation plan’s approval remanded to the county’s planning director, according to a court document.

The county was sued by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and some county residents in January 2020 on the grounds that the forest conservation plan for the proposed development was not valid.

The project’s developers, BTC III I-95 Logistics Center LLC and Harford Investors LLP, co-defendants in the lawsuit, filed a counter motion Wednesday attempting to strike the county’s supplemental memorandum, arguing there was no legal basis for filing it.

One of the developer’s attorneys, Kurt Fischer of Venable LLP in Baltimore, declined to comment on the matter since it has yet to be ruled on by a judge.

Paul Smail, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s director of litigation, said he was surprised by the county’s filing. “The county basically admits our position all along that the forest conservation plan approval and specimen tree waiver approval were legally and factually deficient,” Smail said.