...When Politics And Practicality Meet...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

The golf course was built by the city, with FAA approval, on the condition that 10 percent of the revenue from the course (green fees are $69, with a cart, in high season) be put into an airport improvement fund. The agreement also stipulated that any future airport expansion be carried out on the golf course land, which is what the land was purchased for in the first place. The FAA says Ocean City broke the agreement by ensuring two runway expansions didn't encroach on the golf course. "Based on the information available, it is the FAA's determination that the Town of Ocean City has not adhered to the interim agreement," wrote the FAA's Airports Division Manager William Flannagan in a Feb. 10 letter to the city. In the letter, also quoted by the Dispatch, Flannagan gave Ocean City until April 10 to pay the $13.3 million (it's not known what the land originally cost) and also provide accounting records from the golf course, presumably to assess whether the airport improvement fund was getting the 10-percent cut required under the agreement. The deal apparently soured in 2000 when city officials told the FAA they had decided not to plan any further improvements to the airport. When the FAA and state transportation officials rejected that notion, the city came up with a new plan that included two safety-related runway extensions. However, a task force formed to make the recommendations steered the runway renovations away from any intrusion on the golf course. The FAA reminded the city that doing so would breach the original agreement allowing the golf course and threatened to cancel the deal. The city has since asked that the FAA reclassify the golf course as a "buffer zone" to protect residential areas from noise.