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Maryland airport set for expansion after council vote

Plans for a major expansion to a Maryland public use airport drew a step closer to fruition on Sept. 16. Hartford County officials voted 5 to 1 to grant a zoning exemption and variance to the Hartford County Airport Owners Group. The airport is located off Route 156 near Churchville.

The council member who voted against the motion cited a lack of local oversight. He said that state and federal agencies such as the Maryland Aviation Administration and the FAA would decide what type of aircraft would use the improved airport facilities. Local residents voiced fears about larger and louder aircraft becoming regular visitors to the airport. They were concerned about the possible knock-on effect that this would have on both property values and the quality of life of people living in the area around the airport.

The airport currently boasts a two grass runways and a small single paved runway. The development plan calls for the main runway to run north to south instead of east to west. The size of the runway would also be greatly increased with the length growing from 2,000 feet to 3,200 feet and the width from 35 feet to 75 feet. The development plan also features taxiways adjoining the main runway and improved hangars.

Real estate development plans often encounter resistance from local residents and business competitors, and this can sometimes make acquiring the necessary permits and variances a challenge. Land use and zoning regulations are often complex and inflexible, and understanding what is permitted is sometimes difficult. An experienced real estate attorney could help to interpret these regulations. They may also be able to offer guidance regarding the steps required and length of time involved in securing the necessary approval for a project.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Harford council approves zoning exception for airport expansion ", Allan Vought, September 17, 2014

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