Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Airport board schedules Bowman tree-study vote

The Louisville Regional Airport Authority Board is scheduled to vote Wednesday afternoon on whether to go ahead with a study of trees and other obstructions near Bowman Field.

The meeting is at 3 p.m. at the authority’s administrative office, 700 Administration Drive, at Louisville International Airport.

Trish Burke, the authority spokeswoman, said a new Airport Layout Plan for Bowman Field and the proposed Bowman Field Airport Area Safety Program will be taken up by the board as part of the authority’s five-year capital improvement plan.

Approval of both the layout plan and the safety plan are needed before the authority can proceed with hiring consultants to conduct a study of obstructions within expanded airspace zones off the ends of each runway, said Charles T. “Skip” Miller, authority executive director. Tree removal and any other obstruction mitigation would not occur until at least early 2013, airport officials have said.

Miller has said the safety program would involve identifying all trees and other obstructions that may extend into the larger protected airspace zone required by the Federal Aviation Administration to accommodate modern instrument landing systems.

Working with the FAA, it would also involve the authority purchasing airspace easements above some of its neighbors’ property to make sure the airspace remains open and safe for pilots flying in and out of the aiport, he has said.

But the safety plan has stirred opposition from some neighbors who fear as many as 1,000 trees may need to be trimmed or removed. Airport officials have said they won’t know how many trees until they conduct the survey.

Burke said people who want to speak at authority board meetings must sign up in advance of the meeting. She said that the board chairman has discretion to decide whether to allow speakers.

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