Farm, landfill considered as site for model plane airstrip CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

June 29, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll commissioners disagree about the best place to build a permanent airstrip for model plane enthusiasts -- a Uniontown farm or the old John Owings Landfill.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he prefers the landfill site. Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he likes the farm. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she has no preference and would have to look at both sites.

The board may vote on the issue at a 2:30 p.m. staff meeting today with Recreation and Parks Department Director Richard J. Soisson.

Last week, the county's Recreation and Parks Board voted that both sites were "equally acceptable" and threw the decision to the commissioners.

Members of the Westminster AeroModelers Club, who have been looking for a permanent site to fly their radio-controlled planes for 20 years, said they like both sites.

Residents who live near both sites have complained about the planes.

The club is flying at a temporary strip at the landfill, which is on Route 97 north of Westminster and is closed. The club has had a county permit to fly planes there since August 1992.

The county had planned to move the airstrip to the top of the landfill when the landfill is capped next summer.

In December, neighbors complained about noise from the planes. As a compromise, the commissioners voted in March that the club not be allowed to fly on one Sunday a month. Mr. Dell also suggested that county officials and club members look at the Uniontown farm site as an alternative.

The county-owned former Spiegel farm is near Kowomu Trail and Rinehart Road in an area where the county plans to build a reservoir.

Last week, residents told Recreation and Parks Board members that they oppose an airstrip at the farm because it would disturb the quiet area.

Mr. Lippy said he prefers that the county build an airstrip at the farm because the planes would bother fewer people, but he said he would "go along" with either site.

"I have no real strong feelings either way, except that the Spiegel property is more isolated, and therefore would draw less protesters," he said.

"The property is pristine; so was my area once. I guess we just have to flow with the times.

"The AeroModelers are good citizens. It's a legitimate hobby pursued by many people," Mr. Lippy said.

Mr. Dell said he wants the airstrip at the landfill because it already is established there and because the farmer renting the Spiegel farm from the county needs the land.

Mrs. Gouge said she had expected the Recreation and Parks Board to decide which site would be better because its members studied the issue and watched planes fly at both sites.

"But that's all right, we'll do it," she said.

The county should choose the site that will disturb the fewest people, Mrs. Gouge said.

AeroModelers Club members have said they are frustrated by the long process.

"We did not request a move," member Ray Miles said. "We are fine where we are."

The club has about 60 members.

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