County planners discuss development near airport

September 10, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Planning Commission Monday discussed a preliminary consultation on a residential project opposed by Hagerstown Regional Airport Manager Carolyn Motz.

County Associate Planner Jill Baker told the Planning Commission about a July 16 preliminary consultation on a proposal to build 128 single-family homes on 81.33 acres on the west side of Paradise Church Road. The property would be part of a development by Lee Downey called Paradise Heights.

The property is less than two miles from the airport, putting the safety of the residents at risk should a plane crash, Motz said in an Aug. 28 letter to Baker. Motz was not at the meeting.


Downey said there was a suggestion made at the preliminary consultation that plats for the property note the proximity to the airport. He has no objection to that suggestion, Downey said.

People buying properties in the development will be encouraged to get heavier insulation than usual, Downey said. This would serve two purpose: The properties would be more energy-efficient and it would block some of the noise from airplanes and the airport, he said.

The property is in the county's urban growth area, where development is encouraged, Downey said.

In her letter, Motz said noise from the planes might cause homeowners to complain to the county. She stated that while new planes are quieter, older planes might cause noise problems.

At Wednesday's meeting, Planning Commission ex-officio member Bert Iseminger, who is also a County Commissioner, said the county's current comprehensive plan doesn't do much to prevent residential development around the airport.

He said the county has to wait until rezoning in the recently adopted comprehensive plan takes affect to restrict residential development near the airport.

The updated comprehensive plan changes some of the zoning near the airport, discouraging residential development, he said.

The county has been purchasing property around the airport to control development.

The Paradise Heights development isn't in the direct flight path to or from the airport, Iseminger said.

The Herald-Mail Articles