What Do The Communities Near The Airpark Look Like?
The Airpark is surrounded by densely settled residential communities most of which are listed below:
- Flower Hill lies southwest of the Airpark. It is a mix of townhouses (TH) and single family homes (SFH). This area was built prior to the 1990 noise study.
- Hunters Woods is northwest of the Airpark and is composed of 417 housing units. Estimated population is 1,460 residents. This area was build prior to the 1990 noise study.
- The East Village area of Montgomery Village lies to the northwest and north of the Airpark and is composed of twelve subdivisions. These subdivisions are: Asford, Candle Ridge, The Downs I and II, Essex Place, The Estates, Gable Field, Glenbrooke, Holly Point, Meadowgate, The Reach and Wethersfield. East Village is a mix of SFH and TH for a total of 1,389 dwelling units. Estimated population is 4,862. When the 1990 noise study was done, East Village was only 60% built out.
- The Eastgate area of Montgomery Village lies to the north of the Airpark and is composed of seven subdivisions. These subdivisions are: Charlesgate, Hickory Grove, King Point, The Meadows, The Mews, Ridgefield and Wood Edge. Eastgate is a mix of SFH and TH for a total of 443 dwelling units. Estimated population is 1,551. When the 1990 noise study was done, there were no dwellings in Eastgate.
- Hadley Farms is a residential community, made up of SFH, north of the Airpark. Additional information is being gathered on this community. The housing complex of single family homes and has approximately 1,813 residents.
- While not a residential community, Montgomery County has built a large service park on the 134-acre Webb Tract located at the end of runway 32. This Multi-Agency Park contains the Public Safety Training Academy used by Montgomery County police and fire personnel, MCPS food preparation and warehouse building, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning facilities and other County facilities. This service park employs hundreds of County personnel.
- Edinburg Village is a residential community of single family homes located north of the Airpark. The housing complex has approximately 870 residents.
- Goshen Estates is a residential community of single family homes with approximately 832 residents.
*Note: population estimates are based on 3.5 individuals per housing unit.
Why Did The County Allow So Much Residential Development So Close To The Airpark?
The Airpark was constructed in 1959. The zoning for Montgomery Village East was approved in a series of zoning map amendment approved between 1979 and 1987 (G-124, G-240, G-467, and G-468). The last zoning actions were in 1987 for the area further east and closest to Route 124 (G-467 and G-468). The Council granted the requests of a successful developer (Kettler Brothers) and found these actions to be in the public interest. The Council’s consideration of Airpark issues was included in the 1983 development plan amendment opinion (Resolution 10-99). That amendment shifted density from other parts of Montgomery Village to parts of the East Village. The East Village area was found to be outside of the 65 Ldn noise standards as plotted by M-NCPPC using Maryland Aviation Administration data. Only a small portion of East Village was within the 60 Ldn contour lines. The Day-night Average Sound Level (Ldn) is the level of noise expressed (in decibels) as a 24-hour average. Nighttime noise, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. is weighted. An annual average of DNLs is used by the Federal Aviation Administration to describe airport noise exposure. Areas with noise impacts less than 65 dB DNL are considered “compatible” with residential use; areas at or above 65 dB DNL are designated “incompatible” with residential use. DNL is the Day-Night average sound Level expressed (in decibels) as a 24-hour average.
The Environmental Planning Division testified that: “with increasing density will come an increase in complaints and annoyance based on the noise of over flights, but this factor is not sufficient by itself to generate a negative response to the proposal (to increase density). Federal and State standards require that areas within the 65 decibel line may not be compatible but that areas outside of the decibel line such as 111-k (the area getting increased density), are compatible with airports.”
What Notice Do Property Owners Get Before Moving Into The Airpark Area?
The Real Property Chapter of the Montgomery County Code has included the following provision since 1974 which requires potential property owners be given notice of the Airpark proximity:
Sec. 40-11. Disclosure of location of airport or heliport within five-mile radius of property.
It shall be the duty of the property owner’s agent when selling either unimproved or improved real property located in the County, whether or not in a subdivision, or in the event an agent is not employed, it shall be the duty of the property owner, to disclose to the prospective purchaser, or if more than one purchaser, to at least one of the purchasers, prior to the entering into of a contract for sale of such property, the relative location of any airport or heliport, as defined in the County zoning ordinance, existing within a five-mile radius of the property.
Currently the only fuel that is safe and legal to use in all piston-powered aircraft is 100 Low Lead. The FAA is in the process of certifying new unleaded fuels and we hope to have them at the Airpark as soon as they are readily available. According to the Maryland Department of Environment in 2017 airborne lead concentrations were at “levels consistently below the analytical method’s detection limit.” The entire response from MDE can be read here. In 2008 the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead was changed from 1.5 ug/m3 to .15 ug/m3, this new standard is .00000015 grams per cubic meter of air. Only two airports in the country were over this threshold, neither of which is in Maryland. As part of the president’s Sustainable Fuels in Aviation initiative, there is an investment in green fuels and this includes unleaded 100 octane fuel for piston aircraft.