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Baltimore County has no right to close the Essex SkyPark

Regarding your recent article about the Essex SkyPark, I would like to clarify the Essex SkyPark Association's understanding of the Shapiro property easement ("Members fret over Balto. Co. plans to close Essex Skypark," Jan. 4).

The easement was prepared by the Trust for Public Land for Mr. Shapiro before Baltimore County acquired the property. It was the Shapiro Trust's decision as landowner that determines what conditions would be placed on the property.

Upon donating the property to Maryland Environmental Trust, Mr. Shapiro put in the stipulations that he wanted. MET, as the recipient of the easement, was to be responsible for assuring that the conditions and the conservation values of the easement are upheld.

Any issues that MET has are enforceable upon the owner of the property, which is now Baltimore County. The perpetual easement dated Dec. 28, 2000, from the Shapiro Trust "grantor" to the Maryland Environmental Trust "grantee" is the guiding document that controls the land.

Paragraph A8 states that "the continued operation and use of the of the existing airport, provided however that (a) in the event their has been no airport activity for one year, the present use of the airport shall be deemed abandoned."

It is very clear Messrs. Gardina and Mohler plan to force the pilots out and state the airport has been abandoned as a way around the easement and to completely ignore the intent of the perpetual Shapiro Trust document.

The ESA has never been told we had to have an exit strategy or make plans to move. Our course of action was always to stay at the airport as stipulated in the easement.

The county signed off on two grants from the Maryland Aviation Agency for a new runway and lights. They also signed off on removal of certain trees that were causing safety issues to aircraft operations.

The Army Corps of Engineers also signed and approved the removal of the obstructions. Both documents are dated September 2011.

ESA just completed the repair of a storm damaged roof on our community hangar, at a cost of $38,000. Our course of action and the county's course of action with their approval letters and e-mails over the past five years would indicate ESA and Baltimore County were not discussing an exit plan or a gradual move to another site as stated by the county attorney in a letter dated Nov. 18, 2011.

It is inconceivable to the ESA that the county would completely ignore the fact the Lower Back River Community Action plan dated in 2000 supports the continued use of the airport. This was confirmed by Carl Maynard, president of the Back River Community Association, in The Sun article.

Mr. Kamenetz needs to counsel his direct reports and explain course of dealings and it's implications as they pertain to agreements both verbal and written.

Brian Dolan

The writer is the financial chairmen of the Essex SkyPark Association.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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