Residents, officials gather to address airport noise concerns

December 01, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Neighbors of the Carroll County Regional Airport expressed concerns last night that noise will increase when the runway is lengthened.

For residents north of the airport, the noise is likely to increase, but noise on the more populated south side will decrease because of the new position of the runway, one of the project engineers said.

About 50 residents attended the public information meeting with county officials and engineers at the Carroll County Association for Retarded Citizens Building in Westminster.

Neighbors had asked for the meeting to learn more about expansion plans.

The county plans to lengthen the runway to 5,100 feet at the airport, on Route 97 just north of Westminster, as part of the first phase of expansion scheduled to be completed in 1994.

Officials hope to break ground on the project next spring, Department of General Services Director J. Michael Evans said. The relocation of Meadow Branch Road, which intersects Route 97 and runs near the airport, also will begin in the spring and should be finished by next fall.

The runway should be finished in 18 months, Mr. Evans said.

A resident of Kalten Acres, a subdivision just north of the airport, complained about small planes that buzz over the neighborhood.

"The same guy will go around 20 times," said the man, who did not want to give his name. "To me that's like dirt bikes out there."

Most of the traffic at the airport will continue to be single-engine planes, said Charles Lamb, vice president of Delta Associates P.E. Inc., a Richmond, Va., engineering company that is designing the expansion project.

Two corporate jets regularly use the airport now, he said.

Corporate jets make 200 to 300 takeoffs and landings a year there, he said, but by the year 2004 that number will rise to 1,200.

Even with a longer runway, the largest plane the airport will be able to handle will be a corporate jet that seats a maximum of 20 people, Mr. Lamb said.

Kalten Acres resident Michael K. Billingslea said he was relieved to find out that cargo jets would not be using the airport.

Delta Associates President Edward L. Beale said four detention basins will be built in the area to contain storm water runoff.

The second phase of the expansion, scheduled to be finished in 1996, includes ground support facilities, public or private corporate hangars -- or both -- and an air taxi service.

The total cost of the project is $17 million. The FAA pays 90 percent of the cost, and the state and county contribute 5 percent each.

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