State OKs purchase of mobile home park near BWI Board also approves funds for soundproofing 11 homes in Allwood

July 19, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Aviation Administration will pay $6.35 million to buy a mobile home park next to Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Hanover and will also pay to move 120 households and shut down the park for good, in an agreement approved Friday by the state Board of Public Works.

The purchase includes the 17-acre Ridgewood Mobile Home Park and an additional 55 undeveloped acres owned by Symcha and Joan Shpak on the southwestern edge of the airport.

The board also approved spending $580,000 in federal and state money to soundproof 11 homes in Allwood near the airport, marking the first time homes will be protected from low-frequency takeoff noise as opposed to high-frequency overhead flight noise, according to Ted Mathison, executive director of the Maryland Aviation Administration.

Ridgewood Mobile Home Park and Allwood are in the airport's 7,500-acre noise zone, where residents are eligible for federal and state money to pay for blocking airplane noise. The Ridgewood park was ordered condemned a year ago.

"We'll be happy to see the first people move out," said 26-year Ridgewood resident Marie Delano, 65. Airport officials have been telling residents since 1990 that a state buyout was just two years away, she said.

The agreement to sell comes after years of negotiations between airport officials and the Shpaks, Eastern Shore residents who at one time refused $1.9 million to sell an easement to the state and have residents relocated. They fought the condemnation of the land. MAA officials decided to buy the land when recent appraisals showed that purchasing the easement at $4.2 million would be nearly as expensive as buying the land outright.

"What happened was they came to the amount we wanted," Joan Shpak, 58, said Friday from her Neavitt home.

The couple spent $200,000 on lawyers and appraisers to convince the state of the higher value of the land, some of which they have owned since 1959, when they opened the park for mobile homes, she said.

Purchasing the property just made sense, Mathison said.

"It is fairly expensive, but it is the right thing to do to protect the people," he said.

Noise from airplane takeoffs and landings has rattled the mobile homes for years, and with construction of another runway at BWI in the next five to seven years, Ridgewood residents would be subjected to more noise.

Unlike permanent buildings in the noise zone, which can be soundproofed with insulation, it is virtually impossible to soundproof mobile homes, according to state officials. So the Ridgewood park residents will be moved at state and federal expense.

In addition to the $6.35 million land purchase, MAA will purchase the homes at an appraised value and spend up to $22,500 per household to move residents, according to MAA officials.

The money for the land comes from a fund of airline ticket taxes and from airline landing fees. Eighty percent of the relocation money will come from the federal government and the rest from the state.

Pub Date: 7/18/98

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