Airport Plans Worry Neighbors

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A Maryland developer has come up with a novel approach to gaining approval for his plans to cover an airport in condos. Polm Companies Ltd. says that if it can't build 600 homes, it will instead turn the sleepy Suburban Airport into a major business and commuter facility. Suburban is now home to 65 airplanes and 37 hangars. Polm envisions 300 aircraft, 160 hangars, a flight school and heliport. Of course, if the local council prefers, the company could put in the nice, quiet condos, instead. However, Bruce Mundie, director of the Maryland Aviation Administration, has assured local residents that Polm's plans are pie-in-the-sky. Mundie said the 54-acre airport simply doesn't have the space for all that development. He said, at most, it could handle half of what is being proposed. But Polm spokesman Andrew Zois said the development plans were designed by "highly regarded aviation specialists" who have assured Polm that the plans are feasible. Zois also insists the operation would be "extraordinarily profitable." Polm has issued public statements in recent weeks saying it doesn't need council permission to expand the airport because the zoning is already in place. Rezoning would be required for the housing development.