Runway Relocation, New Hangars To Support Corporate
Commissioners for Carroll County, MD approved a plan Tuesday to
extend and relocate the main runway at Carroll County Regional
Airport/Jack B. Poage Field in Westminster.
The $56 million plan is intended to accommodate the trend of
corporate jets making the move from major airports to regional
ones. It will provide the necessary runway space to allow for
takeoffs with full fuel tanks with more passengers, generating
revenue through increasing fuel sales. The 5,100-foot runway will
be built 250 feet west and 600 feet north of its present location,
according to the Baltimore Sun.
"With a longer runway, they can take off in a much safer
manner," Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge said.
New corporate hangars will also generate much needed revenue,
she said. The airport expansion is projected to be completed by
Michael J. Waibel, senior airport planner with URS Corp., a Hunt
Valley company consulting on the three year-old project, said the
planned runway will better accommodate the new corporate travel
favorite, the Gulfstream 5, with its nearly 100 foot wingspan and
10 passenger seating capacity.
"It's not an exercise in attracting larger aircraft: It's to
sell fuel to your base customers," he said.
As ANN reported, the project
does have its opponents worrying about the increase in noise and
pollution that accompanies increased airport activity. They fear
the longer runway will destroy their rural way of life. A couple of
citizens groups gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition
opposed to the expansion and some have called the federal and state
funding for the project a form of "corporate welfare."
Commissioner Michael D. Zimmer, who cast the only dissenting
vote, said the expansion could harm the environment.
"Are the environmental impacts worth it?" Zimmer said. "We're
talking about additional nonporous surface, we're talking about
potential impact on wildlife habitat, we're talking about potential
impact on air pollution."
The required environmental assessment could take up to two years
to complete and another airspace study will determine how the
expansion might affect other airports in the region, said Gary
Horst, acting airport supervisor.
Carroll County Circuit Judge J. Barry Hughes denied protesters'
request for an injunction Monday to delay the vote, according to
Robert Brink, co-chairman of Concerned Citizens United, an
opposition group. Their next step is to incorporate and hire an
environmental attorney to fight the expansion plan.