Airstrips in the Agriculture Reserve

CASE No. S-2778

Petition of Robert Q. Gillespie

ALERT: The Board of Appeals for Montgomery County will continue the public hearing on Case No. S-2778 -- Robert Q. Gillespie airstrip --  in the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, Second Floor Davidson Memorial Hearing Room, at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland. The Hearing Examiner has changed the date on the continuation of the Air Strip case. The new date is Friday, February 18, 2011.

http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2010/agenda20101202e.html

On Thursday, December 2, 2010, Park and Planning approved the special exception providing that Dr. Gillespie is able to get a waiver from the Department of Environmental Protection on the County Noise Ordinance. The airstrip did not meet the requirements of the County Noise Ordinance. S.C.A. intends to work with affected neighbors to petition the DEP not to grant this waiver. 

SCA Position
Private and commercial air fields or airstrips are not permitted in the Master Plan of the RDT zone. Airstrips associated with a farm are permitted through the Special Exception Process. SCA opposes any airstrips that are not associated with farm use in the Agriculture Reserve. To our knowledge, there are no farmers in the RDT zone who are doing their own crop dusting. This is a very specialized and tightly regulated process, so most farmers contract with a commercial firm. 

Background Information
Dr. Bob Gillespie, 22620 Peach Tree Road, Boyds, MD has been trying to get a private airstrip on his property since 2006. SCA has been opposing this airstrip because private airstrips are not permitted in the Agriculture Reserve except in association with farming. This would be for farm use - not recreational use. See case number A-6129, 2006. In the present appeal, Dr. Gillespie clearly states that the use of the airstrip will be “strictly for recreational flying on a periodic basis.” The fact that he owns a small farm which raises hay has nothing to do with his proposed use of his airstrip. SCA feels that Dr. Gillespie does not understand the intent of the Master Plan in permitted airstrips by special exception associated with a farm. SCA opposed the original appeal in 2006 and we oppose the present petition. Many neighbors of the airstrip are opposed due to safety and noise considerations. We agree with their concerns and feel that this section of Peach Tree Road is particularly not suitable for an airstrip. There are many residential homes scattered among the farm land in this section of Peachtree Road.

Summary of Action
SCA has written the Board of Appeals in opposition to CASE No. S-2778. We attended the hearing on Friday, the 10th day of December 2010. We plan on testifying at the hearing on January 10, 2011. The hearing will be in the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, Second Floor Davidson Memorial Hearing Room, at 100 Maryland Avenue, in Rockville, Maryland. We will also attend the hearing before Park and Planning on this case but that date has not been set. We urge our members to write individual letters in opposition to this airstrip. The letters can not be emailed without a signature. Please mail or fax the signed letter to the address below.

Click here for a sample letter.

FAX  240- 777-6665. 

Lynn A. Robeson, Hearing Examiner
Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings
Stella B. Werner Council Office Building
100 Maryland Avenue, Room 200
Rockville, Maryland  20850

Gillespie Airstrip supporting documents

Letter from S.C.A. to Montgomery County Board of Appeals

Sugarloaf Citizens' Association, Inc.
Linden Farm 
20900 Martinsburg Road
P.O. Box 218 
Dickerson, MD 20842
301-349-4889
info@sugarloafcitizens.org

 
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