Jan. 29, 2004 — Michael Cummins, the AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at Suburban Airport (W18) in Laurel, Md., and AOPA are mounting a last-ditch effort to save the airport and need a strong show of support from pilots and airport backers at a county council meeting on Monday, February 2, at 7 p.m. Some 200 people showed up for a rally in support of the airport on Wednesday night, and Cummins is hoping for a similarly strong showing on Monday.
The privately owned airport, which has no federal grant obligations, is under contract to a developer who needs a zoning change to build hundreds of townhouses and condominiums on the airport property. The Anne Arundel County Council is scheduled to vote on the change at this coming Monday's meeting. Because the airport owners have no obligations to the federal government, only a strong show of support for the airport is likely to sway the politicians.
"AOPA plans to be there to lend our support," said Airport Support Network Manager Mark Lowdermilk. "Pilots and others in the community who recognize the value of Suburban need to be at the council meeting, because it's one of the very last chances to save it. And if Suburban closes, the 65 based-aircraft owners are going to find it difficult to relocate. Surrounding airports are at or near capacity."
Cummins has organized area pilots and residents, and they are lobbying the county commissioners to deny the developer's request for the zoning change.
"The best way to show how the community feels is to be at the meeting and speak out," he said. The meeting will be held in the Arundel Center at 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis, Md. Cummins is encouraging supporters to arrive by 6 p.m., because he's worried they may get crowded out of the council meeting by supporters of the development.