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Skydiving vote delayed

March 31, 1998

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday delayed for at least a week a vote on a plan to allow skydiving at the Washington County Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration had set an April 1 deadline for a plan to be implemented and had threatened to cut off federal grant funding if the county refused to allow skydivers to use the airport as a drop zone.

Airport Manager Carolyn S. Motz said the county had submitted a plan for approval to the FAA last year, and officials waited until last week for FAA comments.

Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers said he was concerned that the designated drop zone in the northwest corner of the airport could delay an unnamed economic development project that could soon be constructed in that area.

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Bowers said he would like the plan to include fines against skydivers who violate the plan or miss the designated drop zone.

Some changes in the plan were required by the FAA, Motz said.

A parachutist would have to pay a variety of charges to use the airport, including a $20 landing fee and a $50 per hour fee to pay for an airport employee to monitor the skydiving.

The fees and other regulations in the plan have been criticized by skydivers who want to use the airport.

Motz is concerned that the skydiving will create safety risks and disrupt airport efficiency. She said she doesn't know of another airport in the country with a tower and scheduled commuter service that has been required by the FAA to allow skydiving.

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