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Stafford County, airport discuss land use

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The Stafford County Planning Commission held a joint meeting with the Stafford Regional Airport Authority on Wednesday to discuss how the land around the airport can be used in a way that is compatible with the airport.

Authority officials have expressed concern about proposed development and the effect it could have on the airport.

“We are in the process of revisiting the comprehensive plan,” said Jeff Harvey, Stafford’s director of planning and zoning. “So this is an opportune time to incorporate airport compatibility with our land use.”

Hank Sharpenberger, the chairman for the Airport Authority, said there are three concerns when it comes to land-use: safety, impact on the quality of life and uses that coincide with the stated intent of the airport.

The proposed Oakenwold development—which calls for up to 695 homes—is a concern for the authority due to its proximity to the airport., Interstate 95, Centreport Parkway, Mountain View Road and Oakenwold Lane.

“We need to be smart about what’s around the airport,” Sharpenberger said.

At issue is also the noise to homeowners living near the airport.

The airport, which now handles mostly business jets, has plans to lengthen the runway in a project that is expected to cost $12 million to $15 million, the bulk of which would be paid for by the federal government. Stafford County would bear about 2 percent of the financial responsibility, according to Sharpenberger.

“The reason we need the extra runway is for start stop distance in foul weather,” said Desi Arnaiz, an Airport Authority member.

The runway extension is part of the airport’s master plan.

In order to further address concerns, the two groups formed a subcommittee.

First thing on the agenda is for the Airport Authority to do a land-use compatibility study.

After that, the subcommittee will meet to develop a formal process and guidelines.

“We were all appointed to nurture this asset and to do so in a way we can enhance its development and be compatible with the people,” Sharpenberger said.

Jessica Koers: 540/374-5444


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