Venice airport safety zone to be changed
Plan would take most nearby houses out of flight paths
By TERRY O’CONNOR
Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Twenty-four of 26 homes will be removed from plane flight paths if a proposed alternative Venice Municipal Airport plan is adopted.
The eight-page preliminary proposal has been posted on the city website. City Manager Isaac Turner said Friday the full report would be posted by July 19 and discussed by the City Council July 27.
The proposal emerged through recent discussions between Venice City Manager Isaac Turner, Federal Aviation Administration officials and representatives from DY Consultants on a thorny airport safety zone problem that has persisted for three years.
The solution involves changing the dimensions of two runways and reconfiguring an adjoining golf course to pull the homes out of airport safety zones.
“We’re pleased we were able to move the runway protection zone for homes in the Gulf Shores area,” Turner said. “We still have two homes impacted but hopefully we’re in better position than before.”
The FAA would pay most of the estimated $13 million to $15 million cost with the airport enterprise fund supplying the rest.
The plan does not downgrade the airport classification. The City Council has repeatedly been rebuffed by the FAA in its efforts to do so. None of the current airport attributes will be lessened by the new proposal.
The homes in the air safety zone conflict area were removed by shifting one of the Venice airport runways toward the Intracoastal Waterway and adding a big, crushable concrete bumper at that end to prevent aircraft overruns. Airport safety zone boundaries affect property values and insurance rates.
“That’s definitely a very good thing,” said Ernie Coleman, president of Gulf Shores Homeowners Association. “It’s progress to get 24 homes out of the runway protection zone.”
The golf course driving range would be moved and two holes now jutting into the airport safety zone over the Lake Venice Golf Club would be shortened.
However, a cart building and part of the golf course clubhouse remain in the Runway Object Free Area, as do the two homes. The FAA tentatively indicated in the report it considered the improvements acceptable.
If the council approves the proposal, the FAA would then assess a full airspace review before issuing conditional approval. An environmental assessment would be the final step needed.
This story appeared in print on page BM2
Copyright © 2010 HeraldTribune.com
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