By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A Shenandoah County man seeking to land his airplane on his family's private farm near Edinburg has asked for the needed permit.
Jeff S. Pence of Old Valley Pike, Edinburg, applied for a special-use permit to operate a private airstrip on approximately 102 acres on Bethel Church Road near Middle Road. The land zoned for agricultural use is bordered by residential property, according to county planning and zoning documents.
Pence proposes to take off and land a small engine plane for private, personal use on the property described as a working farm owned by his parents, William and Maxine Pence. At some time in the future, the pilot seeks to build a hangar for storing the plane. Pence would need to seek a building/zoning permit before he could construct a hangar.
The airstrip would lie at a point on an existing, private driveway and run northwest on a grass-covered surface through a farm field. The applicant proposes that no commercial aircraft could take off or land on the runway, nor would the property owners charge a fee to use the strip.
Zoning Subdivision Administrator Joyce Fadeley said Friday two neighbors of the property expressed interest or concern about the proposed airstrip.
"I think their concerns were, 'well, it's an agriculture area, why does this person want an airstrip,' things like that," Fadeley said, noting the proposal does not appear to have generated much support or opposition.
"We have quite a number of private airstrips in Shenandoah County," Fadeley added. "If they've got the space to land - I don't know of anybody that uses an airstrip excessively. Most of them are used for pleasure or personal use."
While such a facility differs from larger airports, planning officials note in documents the applicant would still need to abide by Federal Aviation Administration regulations.