Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bowman Field Airport (KLOU) tree cutting to resume

This round of tree cutting is separate from a plan for expanded cutting and trimming planned by airport officials and announced in 2012.

As many as 60 trees in the Bowman Field area will be removed or trimmed in the coming months, Louisville Regional Airport Authority officials said this week.

The LRAA is sending letters to homeowners alerting them of the tree work, which is being done only on properties where the authority already has what are called avigation easements - essentially the rights to keep trees out of runway flight paths.

Trish Burke, spokeswoman for the authority, said the authority expects to bring bids for the tree work to its board in January. The work would likely be done in late January, she said. The letter says the authority will replace any removed trees with two lower canopy trees at a two-to-one ratio.

The authority and its contractor, Hanson, is continuing to work on another tree project. Hanson is preparing environmental studies related to additional planned tree removals or trimmings as part of the Bowman Field Airport Area Safety Program, announced in December 2012, that calls for the purchase of new airspace easements. The scope of that program was narrowed in 2014.

But it's still been contentious in the neighborhoods around the general aviation airport, spawning the development of an advocacy group called Plea for Trees.

"Plea for the Trees does not oppose removals in existing avigation rights of way, as long as the LRAA follows required protocols that may be associated with using federal funds," said Michael Hayman, Seneca Gardens arborist who is active with the group. But Hayman said the authority's planned mitigation for the January cutting is not enough.

"Two-for-one" gives an intentionally deceptive impression that the LRAA is giving twice the value for removed trees, when, in fact, they are replacing large trees with small trees worth a tiny fraction of the removed trees," he said.

- Source:  http://www.courier-journal.com

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