2 car dealers at odds over helicopter landing plan

Antwerpen seeks approval from Balto. Co. for helistop

May 08, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Two major car dealers along Baltimore National Pike are at odds over a machine that flies in the air.

Dealership owner Jacob "Jack" Antwerpen asked Baltimore County yesterday to allow him to create a helistop to land his rented helicopter.

The chief opposition is from his cross-street rival, Russell Toyota, which complains that the helicopter landing at Antwerpen's Hyundai-Kia's dealership disrupts business.

"It's total chaos at the dealership," said Donald Burke, general sales manager at Russell. "The windows were shaking, and sales people were complaining they can't talk to customers."

An attorney for Antwerpen challenged the testimony given before Baltimore County Deputy Zoning Commissioner Timothy Kotroco yesterday, saying the helistop is legal and safe.

Roy Taylor, a commercial helicopter pilot who once inspected helicopter pads for the county, testified that he found the Antwerpen helistop at 6631-6635 Baltimore National Pike met county and federal regulations.

Gerald Henning, a sound engineer, testified that he stood across the street from the helistop during a landing and likened the sound to that of a truck.

"Over a 24-hour period it's really insignificant compared to other area noises," Henning said.

Antwerpen has been landing the helicopter on the site since November. After complaints from Russell, county inspectors cited Antwerpen, saying he needed to get county zoning approval.

Aaron Margolis, an attorney representing Russell, complained that the helistop is too close to the road - 80 feet away.

"People in automobiles are going to stop and stare," he said. "They're going to take their eyes off the road."

Kotroco said he would make a decision in the case within three weeks, after visiting the site.

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