The "scatter plan" to disperse the takeoff paths of planes using National Airport -- which appeared to be dead after it proved so controversial when it was tested between October 1983 and January 1984 -- should be reinstated, according to a citizens advisory committee.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has been asked by the committee to reinstate a form of the scatter plan when its board of directors meets Wednesday.
H.R. Crawford, the D.C. City Council member who is chairman of the COG board, moved immediately yesterday to quash any chances of reviving the controversial plan that was tested at COG's request.
"I want to emphasize that we have no, no intention at all of reinstituting the scatter plan," said Crawford, citing vehement citizen opposition to the test. "We want to put this to rest forever."
Under the plan, planes taking off and landing at National Airport were diverted from the normal Potomac River route and dispersed throughout the Washington area. The test brought loud protests from neighborhoods newly exposed to jet noise, although neighborhoods along the river applauded the plan.
The COG board of directors had been scheduled to vote on the issue in January, but deferred action when Maryland members requested more time to study additional radar track maps. It was clear from that meeting, however, that the District and Virginia members were unified and had the votes to kill any Maryland-led attempts to revive the plan. The board will take a final vote on the matter Wednesday.
At a meeting this week, COG's citizens advisory committee voted 12 to 3 to ask the board to implement some kind of scatter plan. Some committee members, all of whom are appointed by their local governments, voted for a new plan in spite of their government's position opposing the plan.
Morton Rosen, a Montgomery County committee member who made the motion for a new scatter plan, said yesterday that the radar track maps of one particular day in December 1983 showed the scatter test had considerably less impact than previously believed.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which runs the airport, said it would not implement the plan if local governments opposed it.
"I just don't see how anybody's going to be better off with any kind of scatter plan," said Ellen M. Bozman, a member of the Arlington County Board and the county's representative to COG.
Rosen and Leo Powell, a Prince George's County committee member, said that certain radar maps showed that no area experienced more than three flights an hour. "It's startling to see how the test produced exactly what we had hoped for," said Bill Moran of the Coalition on Airport Problems. The coalition supports the scatter plan.
That contention was disputed by Fred B. Wood, an Arlington member of the advisory board. Wood said his reading of the charts showed there were as many as 16 planes an hour in some areas under the scatter plan test.