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Tue, Feb 02, 2010

Venice, Florida City Council Presses Case To Downgrade Airport

FAA Recently Denied Such The Request

The Venice, Florida City Council has paid about $700,000 to a consulting firm in an effort to press its case to downgrade Venice Municipal Airport (KVNC). The FAA had sent a letter to the city council last month denying the request.

Council members have long pushed for a shorter runway in an attempt to remove about 24 homes and a golf course from the airport safety zone. They are also fighting a local FBO's attempt to build new hangar facilities at the airport, and have recently been more public about their desire to limit jet traffic at the facility, a move the FAA opposes.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that the FAA has the authority to withhold state and federal money for planned runway improvements from the city, and require them to spend money from their local airport improvement fund for that purpose. The city used money from the fund to pay the consultants to file the plan opposed to the improvements. The paper reports that a majority of the council supports rejecting the FAA AIP grant.

A former FAA official told the paper that the city is obligated to follow FAA rules because it has accepted FAA funding in the past. It also may not discriminate against any particular type of aircraft.

A plan proposed by a consulting firm to shift runway 4-22 515 feet to the east, which would have had the effect of removing the golf course and homes from the safety zone, was rejected by the council despite the fact that the FAA would have likely picked up the $3 million price tag for the move. The runway is reportedly in a poor state of repair. But Vice Mayor Sue Lang said that was unacceptable because "We will proceed to have heavier and heavier jets."



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