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Airpark housing proposed

June 27, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A 17-lot subdivision being proposed for the Summit Point area in southern Jefferson County would include a 3,000-foot-long landing strip and a hangar for airplanes, a county official said Wednesday.

The development, Cedar Meadows Airpark, is described in planning commission records as "a residential fly-in community."

Project developer Tim Foltz, of Winchester, Va., presented the initial phase of the project's community impact statement to the planning commission Tuesday night. He is expected to complete the presentation July 9, county Chief Planner Stephen R. Bockmiller said.

Plans call for Cedar Meadows Airpark to be built on a 205-acre farm that straddles the Jefferson County and Clarke County, Va., lines, Bockmiller said. The land is near the intersection of Summit and Hardesty roads and about a half-mile west of Summit Point Raceway.

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Most of the development - 174 acres - would be in Jefferson County, Bockmiller said.

It is not clear what type of homes would be built or their price range. They would be on lots of about three to five acres, Bockmiller said.

Bockmiller said he did not know the exact size of the hangar proposed for the Cedar Meadows Airpark, but said it would be about 600 feet long.

Foltz said there is a high demand for developments in which residents can keep planes.

People who have planes and live in nearby metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., face high storage costs for their planes, said Charles Town attorney Peter Chakmakian, who is helping Foltz through the planning commission approval process.

Because of the speed and efficiency associated with air travel, it doesn't matter whether an airplane owner keeps his plane in the city or moves it to a rural area like Jefferson County, Chakmakian said.

The people who are interested in such developments would rather fly to work than drive, he said.

"Most of these people are middle-aged, don't have children, and are well-to-do," Chakmakian said.

A community impact statement generally describes the effect a development will have on the county. Planning Commission members can approve the statement, approve it with conditions or reject it.

Planning Commission member Sam Donley said Foltz was asked to complete his presentation at a later time because he did not have enough information for planning commission members.

Foltz did not "have some of the blanks filled" and was unfamiliar with the planning commission's approval process, Donley said.

"It's no big deal," Donley said.

Donley said he was intrigued by the project.

"It does sound interesting, doesn't it? I guess we're moving up. I still drive an '87 Ford pickup truck," Donley said.

The airstrip, which would have a grass surface, would take about eight weeks to build and the hangar would take about 10 weeks to construct, according to planning commission records.

Bockmiller said Foltz has said a number of people are interested in buying homes at the proposed Cedar Meadows Airpark.

"Actually, I have more people interested than I have lots available," Foltz said Wednesday afternoon.

Foltz said he has many years experience in the aviation industry, working as an aircraft inspector and mechanic.

Although Bockmiller said he could not think of many developments that include an airstrip, he said it is not unusual for private airstrips to be found on local farms.

The county's land-use laws allow for private landing strips, Bockmiller said. The only time more stringent zoning regulations would apply is if a landing strip were used for commercial operations, Bockmiller said.

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