US Airways Offers Compromise On Towers Near Sky Harbor
Tempe, AZ-based US Airways has asked
city officials not to erect 300 foot towers near Phoenix Sky Harbor
International Airport... making the airline the sole critic of the
And that's not all. As representatives with US Airways listed
problems it had with the development at a meeting last week,
several elected officials and a local businessowner berated the
airline for apparent contradictions, and called the air carrier an
The fight to build towers of up to 300-feet tall has become
perhaps the most contentious and confusing battle over a Tempe
development in years, as city officials delayed a City Council vote
on making a decision to build the towers. Scottsdale-based 3W Cos.
is on tap to build the towers, if the project is approved in a
January 10 council vote.
US Airways asserts the towers could pose a safety threat -- if a
plane had an emergency on take-off, the towers would be in their
flight path. "Any buildings taller than 257-feet would threaten
planes in the rare event an airplane failed during takeoff from
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)," US Airways
attorney Stephen Earl said.
The airline wants a maximum "good neighbor height" of 225 feet,
added US Airways spokesman John MacDonald. The airline offered a
compromise: three towers of no more than 257 feet, instead of two
taller 300–foot towers.
Opposition by the airline to the original plan triggered more
"I'm disappointed our hometown airline can't compromise,"
Councilwoman Onnie Shekerjian said. "We have a bully among our
Paul Gilbert, an attorney for 3W Cos. accused the airline of
hedging its bets, "there's a blatant inconsistency here."
The argument stems from a historic adobe home built in 1871 --
now home to Monti's La Casa Vieja restaurant, and the Valley's
oldest building. Under the plan, the building would be preserved
and the towers would stand next to it as a landmark.
US Airways protested and filed a complaint with the city which
requires six out of seven "yes" votes instead of the usual four out
of seven. Councilman Ben Arredondo opposes the current buildings as
too tall, meaning that all of the remaining council members must
vote to support the project.
La Casa Vieja owner Michael Monti said changing times have
threatened his historic restaurant, adding that the development is
the only way to let him keep his business and preserve the adobe
"This is our life," Monti said. "It's a decimal point for US