Commissioners OK purchase of 3.6 acres near airport for more than $200,000

County is buying land as part of protection zone for recently extended runway

February 08, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |

A spate of land acquisitions approved Tuesday by the Washington County Commissioners included a long-negotiated purchase of about 3.6 acres near the Hagerstown Regional Airport runway for more than $200,000.

The county is buying the land as part of a protection zone for the recently extended runway, with 97.5 percent of the purchase cost to be paid by the Federal Aviation Administration, said Joe Kuhna, the county's real property administrator.

The county also approved more than $70,000 in right-of-way purchases needed for road-widening projects, including the final piece needed for improvements at the intersection of Halfway and Massey boulevards.

The land for the runway protection zone is north of Airview Road and will be purchased for $202,300. The county's roughly $5,000 portion of that payment will come from the general fund, Kuhna said.

"I'm amazed — maybe appalled is the better word — that (3.6) acres of farmland is worth $50,000 an acre," Commissioner John F. Barr said. "But irregardless, it's a benefit to our public airport."

The runway protection zone is land that must be kept clear of obstacles that would endanger planes during landing and takeoff. Buying land in that zone is generally less expensive, in the long run, than attempting to control it through easements and zoning regulations, Kuhna said.

The other property acquisitions approved were:

  • $346,250 to acquire a portion of 1726 Massey Boulevard for improvements to the intersection of Halfway and Massey boulevards.
  • $59,045 to acquire portions of 19328 Longmeadow Road and 13407 Marsh Pike for future widening and improvements to the intersection of those roads
  • $11,500 to acquire a portion of 11202 Robinwood Drive for future widening and improvements on Robinwood Drive

Funding for those purchases was built into the budget for the county's Capital Improvement Plan, Kuhna said.

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