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ASN volunteer, county planners honored at Pilot Town Meeting for airport preservationASN volunteer, county planners honored at Pilot Town Meeting for airport preservation

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AOPA President Phil Boyer presents a Presidential Citation to ASN volunteer Martha Ainsworth for her efforts in securing new zoning ordinances that help protect airports in Maryland's Prince George's County.

AOPA President Phil Boyer last night paid tribute to Prince George's County, Maryland, officials and an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer for their critical roles in protecting the county's four general aviation airports. The presentation was made before some 400 pilots attending an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting in Baltimore.

ASN volunteer Martha Ainsworth (Freeway Airport/W00) and PG County planners Craig Rovelstad and Wendy Irminger, along with planning board chairman Betty Hewlett and council member Audrey Scott, spent three and a half years shepherding a county zoning bill that protects airports, developers, and property owners alike. It was approved last summer.

"The efforts of these dedicated folks prove that GA airports and the surrounding communities can peacefully coexist," said Boyer. "Using the resources of AOPA, they were able to present a land-use plan that benefits everyone and to back it up with hard information."

Ainsworth received an AOPA President's Citation, and others received letters of recognition, which read in part, "Your work in advancing land uses that are compatible with airports is an extraordinary legacy to the average citizen, taxpayer, and business owner as well as to the general aviation community. Land planners elsewhere in your region, state, and the nation can and will find a model in your efforts for similar projects."

The zoning bill applies to Ainsworth's home airport, Freeway, and to the county's three other general aviation airports: College Park Airport, Potomac Airfield, and Washington Executive/Hyde Field. It even protects the approach into Suburban Airport in neighboring Anne Arundel County, Md.

The measure created Aviation Policy Areas (APAs), each with their own development regulations, around the four airports. The APAs closest to the airports have limited land use and require developers to leave more open space. Guidelines for APAs farther away from the airport would allow developers greater flexibility.

In addition, property sellers must notify potential buyers in writing if any of the airports are within five miles of the property.

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