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Smooth takeoff for airpark plans

July 10, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A community impact statement was approved Tuesday night for a proposed housing development that will include a 3,200-foot airplane landing strip and a hangar that can hold up to 30 airplanes.

The next step for the proposed 17-lot Cedar Meadows Airpark will be the submission of a preliminary plat, which includes a sketch showing roads, lots and other parts of the development.

Winchester, Va., resident Tim Foltz, who is developing the project, said there is a demand for housing developments where people can keep their own airplanes.

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Pilots who have airplanes in nearby metropolitan areas may have to drive more than an hour to an airport to take their plane out for a recreational flight, Foltz told the Jefferson County Planning Commission Tuesday night.

Pilots also face high storage costs for their planes in bigger cities, said attorney Peter Chakmakian, who is helping Foltz through the planning commission approval process.

"It's saving people the hassle," Foltz said.

The community impact statement is a document that describes the effect a development will have on a community in terms of traffic flow and other issues.

The planning commission can reject the community impact statement, accept it or accept it with conditions.

One condition that the planning commission added to the community impact statement for the airpark is that homeowners be required to register their airplanes in West Virginia so personal property taxes can be assessed on the planes.

Planning commission members asked Foltz how big the airplanes will be at the airpark and whether he has placed a limit on how many can be kept there.

The airstrip will be 3,200 feet long and 100 feet wide, Foltz said. The biggest plane that could be accommodated on the airstrip would be an eight-passenger plane that would be 34 feet long and have a wingspan of 55 feet, Foltz said.

Most of the airplanes kept at the airpark would be smaller, Foltz said.

Foltz said he has not thought about putting a limit on the number of planes that can be kept at the development, which would be built on a 205-acre farm a half-mile west of the Summit Point Raceway.

"Not many people have more than one airplane," Foltz said.

Because it is a grass airstrip, it does not require Federal Aviation Administration approval, Foltz said.

There will be no control tower at the airstrip. Pilots who take off and land at the airstrip will use a radio frequency to announce when they are landing and taking off, Foltz said.

Although it was not an item that was included in the community impact statement, Foltz said he plans to put landing lights on the airstrip.

The lights would be placed about 125 feet apart and would only come on when someone is taking off or landing, Foltz said.

"It's a small little light. It's just enough to give you the path of where you are getting ready to land," said Foltz, who plans to live in the development.

The hangar for storage of airplanes will be 651 feet long and 54 feet wide. Foltz said he wanted to build a hangar large enough so most of the planes could be kept inside.

Foltz said he plans to seek a conditional use permit to build a maintenance building on the property that would be 10,000 square feet.

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