One Of Four Options Presented By County Officials
The NIMBY crowd fighting against Florida's Witham Field received
a reality check Wednesday, when FAA officials told residents living
near the airport that no -- thanks for the suggestion -- but
shortening one of the airport's runways is not an option.
At issue is a 460-foot runway extension added in 1998. In
response to resident petitions, Martin County officials had
submitted a study to the FAA on ways to move a runway protection
zone away from nearby homes.
County officials met with the FAA Wednesday, to present the
study and its four alternatives for relocating the runway zone --
one of which would remove the extension, returning the runway to
its pre-1998 length.
But that is not one of the options the county is studying,
because FAA officials told the county the agency did not consider
that to be a suitable alternative, Hudson said after Wednesday's
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen confirmed to the Palm Beach Post
the agency did not consider shortening the runway an alternative,
but she could not offer specifics.
That comes as a letdown to the Witham Airport Action Majority,
the citizens group that has lobbied everyone from Martin County
officials, the FAA, and Senator Bill Nelson to shorten the
extension. The group has also sued Martin Country for allowing the
extension in the first place.
"The only way to correct this is to take conditions back to the
way they were in 1998," said group member Lynne Pine, who also
lives near the airport.
presented in the study include restricting pilots from taking
off past a designated line on the runway, constructing barriers to
slow down runaway planes, and extending the runway the opposite
direction, into the nearby golf course... but group members still
say shortening the runway is the best option.
"They may not want to consider that alternative but the people
do," said group president David Shore. "The letter writing and the
petitions will continue."
In the interim, the FAA is still weighing those other options.
The agency is expected to send an official letter to the county
Friday with it's input.
From there, county officials are expected to present the runway
study to the airport's noise advisory committee meeting next
Thursday, Hudson said. County commissioners are scheduled to then
discuss the report on February 7, according to the Post.