Maryland Airport is a key economic development asset for Charles County, and efforts are underway to change the land use designation around the airport to accommodate employment supporting development. Taylor Yewell, the EDD’s Chief of Development, has been working with the airport’s owner for a number of years and has provided answers below to some of the most often asked questions regarding this project, sorting out some of the most important facts from fiction.
Q: Will the 558 acres around the airport that is subject to rezoning be used for airport expansion?
A: Maryland Airport is located on 215 acres of industrially zoned land. An Airport Master Plan for the Maryland Airport was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) in 1999. A key improvement shown in the plan is the extension of the 3,740-foot runway to 4,200 feet which will be done within the existing boundaries. The purpose of the rezoning of the 558 additional acres is to permit employment supporting development.
Q: Will Charles County tax dollars be used to fund airport improvements?
A: No, the airport is privately owned and all improvements currently underway are funded by the owners. The FAA Airport Improvement Program has provided grant funding in the past for runway improvements and will most likely be accessed for the future runway extension.
Q: Won’t commercial development around the airport adversely affect the Mattawoman watershed?
A: The county has identified steep slope areas and Resource Protection Zones around the airport where building will be prohibited (see map). Areas that can be built on will be subject to strict environmental and stormwater regulations to help ensure any development achieves net zero impact on the environment.
Q: Aren’t general aviation airports significant polluters of the environment?
A: According to the 2005 Aviation and Emissions – A Primer, Federal Aviation Administration Office of Environment and Safety, “Compared to other sources, aviation emissions are a relatively small contributor to air quality concerns both with regard to local air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.” The piston engine driven planes that fly in and out of Maryland Airport use high octane gasoline as aviation fuel. Furthermore, the airport has on average sixty takeoffs and landings a day, contrasted with the 24,000 automobiles that drive through Bryans Road on Rt. 210 on peak days.