Modelers defend their right to flight

February 18, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The model airplane pilots say they respect their self-imposed "no-fly zone" and are careful not to disturb the environment near their field off Route 97 north of Westminster.

Nearby residents say noise from the planes is incessant on weekends, causes dogs at the Humane Society to bark, and spooks horses and other animals.

Westminster AeroModelers Club members and residents who live near the closed John Owings Landfill, where the planes fly, presented their concerns last night to the county Recreation and Parks Board at the Carroll County Education Center. About 50 people attended the meeting, most of them club members.

"We feel as if we've been a victim of bad publicity and misunderstanding of our hobby," said Wayne Creasy of Westminster, a past club president. The club has been looking for a permanent flying site for 20 years, he said.

Anne Poissant of Crowl Road described the airplane noise as "repetitive and obtrusive" and said it sounded like "a weed whacker" from 10 a.m. to dusk.

Gordon W. Schoen of the 2600 block of Littlestown Pike has complained to the county about the planes numerous times. He did not attend the meeting last night, but has said planes have flown over his property and chased birds in the air.

Mr. Creasy said club members allow only four planes in the air at once. They fly from 10 a.m. to dusk Monday through Saturday and noon to dusk on Sundays and holidays.

In December, 19 residents petitioned the commissioners to deny

the permit renewal. The residents claimed the planes disturb the neighborhood and scare away wildlife.

The county commissioners asked the board to decide whether the club's permit to fly radio-controlled planes on the site should be renewed. The permit expired Dec. 31.

The club has had a county permit to fly planes at the landfill since Aug. 25. Recreation department employees have not found any violations of the no-fly zone, said Parks Director John P. Little. The nearest residence is 2,000 feet from the airstrip, he said.

The club, which has about 60 members, presented a petition with 275 names in support of its permit application.

Board Chairman Clark Shaffer said the board will make a recommendation to the commissioners based on last night's meeting.

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