Decision on Carroll County glider port is delayed

September 30, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

A Woodbine farmer sought yesterday to end a decades-old dispute with his neighbors by giving up his desire to resume glider operations on his property.

The county Board of Zoning Appeals had been expected to decide yesterday whether Michael R. Harrison would be allowed to resume glider operations on his 172-acre farm. His glider port has been closed since March 1997, when a glider crashed there, slightly injuring the pilot and a passenger.

But in a surprise move yesterday, Harrison asked the board to reopen the latest round of hearings in the 3-decade-old case to allow him to read "a two-sentence letter that would make your decision easier."

Westminster attorney Brian M. Bowersox, who represents a group of Woodbine residents opposed to glider port operations, objected to reopening the hearing.

"Most of my clients are not here. My expert witness is not here. The case is closed," Bowersox said.

The board agreed to reopen the case without knowing what Harrison's note said. It was shared only with Bowersox and Roland D. Ross, a Woodbine resident who lives about a half-mile south of Harrison's farm.

Ross has been fighting Harrison's glider port operations for about 15 years.

Board members are not likely to see the contents of the note until the hearing reopens. No date has been set.

The note says Harrison would "voluntarily accept a condition to ban gliders" at his airport because that is what his neighbors "testified against" and have been fighting since two fatal crashes there in the early 1980s.

"This is something for my neighbors," Harrison said afterward. "It's what they want."

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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