County to buy land near local airport

July 12, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County plans to buy about 18 acres of farmland west of Hagerstown Regional Airport so the county can control what goes on the land, which is part of a Federal Aviation Administration-mandated "runway protection zone," an airport official said.

The county would pay 2.5 percent of the $506,738 purchase price, or $12,668.45, according to a report from Joseph F. Kuhna, the county's real property administrator.

The FAA would fund 95 percent of the purchase and the state would pay 2.5 percent, said Phil Ridenour, the airport's fire chief.

A public hearing on the property acquisition is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The land to be purchased includes two tracts of unimproved land north of Reiff Church Road, one 17.74 acres and the other .39 acre, according to Kuhna's report.


Ridenour said the county would like to buy the land from the farmer who owns it and then lease it back to that farmer for continued use as farmland. The county would prohibit structures on the property and limit its use to the growth of low-growing crops, such as soybeans, Ridenour said. Corn might be allowed, depending on its location, he said.

The idea is to avoid anything that protrudes from the ground high enough to interfere with aircraft landing on the nearby runway, Ridenour said.

The need for the additional land stemmed from the airport's runway improvement project, which is in its final stages, Ridenour said.

Changes in the configuration of the runway during that project enlarged the runway protection zone area on the west side of the airport, he said.

If you go ...

What: Public hearing on property acquisition

When: Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Where: County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, room 226

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