2013 Maryland Code
§ 5-4A-01 - Airport districts; easements
(a) Definitions. --
(1) In this section, "airport district" means:
(i) Designated land on which a privately owned commercial or public use airport is situated; and
(ii) Designated private land proximate to a commercial or public use airport.
(2) "Commercial use airport" means a publicly or privately owned airport at which:
(i) Landing or tie down fees are charged;
(ii) Aviation fuel or oil is sold;
(iii) Space is rented;
(iv) Goods or services are sold; or
(v) Other activities are carried out for remuneration.
(3) "Public use airport" means any publicly or privately owned airport that is open to flight operations by the public.
(b) Purpose. -- It is the intent of the Maryland General Assembly to establish and preserve airport districts for the purpose of:
(1) Conserving land that is available for the future development of airports;
(2) Ensuring access to commercial and recreational aviation in the State; and
(3) Protecting airports and land proximate to airports as open space land.
(c) Powers and duties of municipalities. --
(1) A county or municipal corporation containing a commercial or public use airport may:
(i) Establish a policy for preserving land for airports;
(ii) Establish airport districts;
(iii) Acquire an easement for development rights in an airport district;
(iv) Alter or abolish an easement in an airport district; and
(v) Promote the preservation of airports in the county or municipal corporation by offering information and assistance to affected landowners with respect to the establishment of an airport district and the purchase of an easement.
(2) (i) A county or municipal corporation that establishes an airport district shall establish the airport district by ordinance.
(ii) The establishment of an airport district may not take effect until all landowners in the proposed airport district have executed and recorded along with land records an agreement with the county or municipal corporation stipulating that:
1. After the establishment of the airport district the landowner may agree to keep the landowner's land compatible with airport use in accordance with this section; and
2. The landowner has the right to offer to sell to the county or municipal corporation under the provisions of this subtitle an easement for development rights in the landowner's land.
(3) In designating land as an airport district or acquiring an easement in an airport district, a county or municipal corporation shall:
(i) Solicit from the county or municipal corporation planning and zoning body a study of the impact of an easement before acquiring an easement in an airport district;
(ii) Consider current local regulations;
(iii) Consider local patterns of land development; and
(iv) Consider local priorities for the preservation of airport land.
(4) (i) A county or municipal corporation shall hold a public hearing before acquiring an easement in an airport district.
(ii) A county or municipal corporation shall provide adequate notice to all landowners in the proposed airport district and all interested parties before holding a public hearing.
(d) Funds to acquire easement. -- A county or municipal corporation may coordinate its acquisition of an easement in an airport district with other programs and shall dedicate such funds to the acquisition as it considers appropriate.
(e) Land use restrictions. --
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a landowner whose land is subject to an easement may not use the land for a commercial, industrial, or residential purpose.
(2) (i) A landowner may exclude from the easement restrictions 1 acre for each single dwelling that exists at the time of the sale of the easement, by a land survey and recordation provided at the expense of the owner.
(ii) 1. Before an exclusion is granted under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, an owner shall agree with the county or municipal corporation not to subdivide further for residential purposes land allowed to be excluded.
2. This agreement shall be recorded among the land records where the land is located and shall bind all future owners.
(3) An easement in an airport district may not restrict a landowner from engaging in commercial or other activities involving agriculture, forestry, topographical enhancement, or other activities that are compatible with the future development of an airport.
(4) An easement in an airport district may not prevent a landowner from engaging in commercial or other activities on the land related to normal airport operations including, but not limited to, the sale of maintenance products and services, and training schools.
(f) No public right of access. -- Acquisition of an easement by a county or municipal corporation does not grant to the public a right of access or right of use of the airport district.
(g) Regulations. -- A county or municipal corporation may adopt regulations and procedures for administering this section.
(h) Landowner not prohibited from selling property. -- Nothing in this section shall prohibit a landowner from selling the landowner's property.
(i) Abolition of district; sale of easement. --
(1) The county or municipal corporation may review the use of land in an airport district and alter or abolish an airport district.
(2) The county or municipal corporation shall distribute funds acquired from the sale of an easement in an airport district to the county's or municipal corporation's general fund.
(j) Condemnation. -- In the event of condemnation of land under an airport preservation easement, the condemning authority shall pay:
(1) To the landowner the full amount that the landowner would be entitled to if the land was not under easement, less any amount paid to the landowner by the county or municipal corporation for the easement; and
(2) To the county or municipal corporation, to be deposited into the county's or municipal corporation's general fund, the value of the easement.
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