5 letters: Readers clamor against runway extension, one comments on FDOT's A1A proposals

What are your neighbors talking about this week?

  • By
  • | 4:00 p.m. June 1, 2022
  • Ormond Beach Observer
  • Opinion
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Airport freedom act

Dear Editor:

Every claim in the opinion letter by Karin Augat concerning the airport runway extension is verifiable by emails between the city and FAA. Those emails prove her claims and disprove the city’s previous assertions. I have read her emails. Her documentation is so thorough that the city’s response finally admits they cut the 1,000 feet desired extension to 600 feet for now. They reasoned that they did not have the time to complete another study to get the 400 more feet they really need before the grant money runs off.

Make no mistake, that was finally an admission that 1,000 feet is their ultimate extension goal and they won't stop until they get it. Now we know why the city mysteriously allowed the golf course to die without seeking new management to take it over “as is." The 400 more feet requires three holes on the back nine to be moved.

I requested an email from the FAA that responded to the city inquiring if Riverbend Golf Course could stay open. The FAA email stated that the Airport District Office thought the city intended to move forward with a study of a runway extension alternative that would include golf course lands, but that if the city wished to re-lease the golf course, a redesign of the affected holes was a way to address the issue. 

In other words, it could have been left open all along and after any runway extension. The FAA did not kill it as previously claimed. The gun was planted on them. The city commissioners should care more about thousands of citizens enjoying golf with their families, than just a few wanting NetJets. It took a dedicated citizen who knows the freedom of information act to get them to fess up.

The city’s noise reduction and pie in the sky space exploration jobs here gambit is no way to represent the people. A ruined golf course and more noise for us is really just about fatter vacation jaunting planes and NetJets.

NetJets requires a total of 5,000 feet, thus mandating the 400 feet coming soon. Three commissioners so far voting for the extension are leaving
the commission. Mayor Partington and Commissioner Persis remain and they also knew better along.

We need to start over. That includes not electing any of those candidates funding their campaigns with major Airport user big money or recruited to succeed the departing.

Don Miller

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: NetJets is a private business jet company.

OB Life Airport: More questions than answers

Dear Editor:

I attended the May 10th OB Life meeting regarding the proposed Ormond Beach Airport runway extension and left with more questions than answers.

Why did our city officials not know how many homes are located in the FAA 2.5 mile-radius Airport Hazard Area? Why no mention of the FAA Airport Hazard Area? What portion of Ormond Beach’s population lives within the Hazard Area footprint?

Responding to the noise issue, City Airport Manager Steve Lichliter referenced the citizen Noise Abatement Task Force, established in 2009. Why did he fail to mention this Task Force has not met in years, despite ongoing citizen noise complaints?

City Financial Officer Kelly McGuire explained that internal loans like the $686,000 the airport has "borrowed" from the city's General Fund are executed frequently, with interest paid internally. Why did she fail to mention that not one dime has been repaid by the airport to the General Fund since 2015?

If the airport generates its own revenue as a separate financial entity, why has it gone so deeply in debt in a relatively short number of years? Will this debt not sharply increase with the loss of $100,000 annual revenue from the River Bend Golf Course, now closed by the city?

Why are the mayor and proponents pushing a $4 million runway extension when the city is claiming the extra length will result in only three more operations per day? How will three more daily operations accomplish the economic growth touted by the mayor?

Why was there no discussion of the proposal to bring larger NetJets operations into Ormond Beach? This plan is referenced in the city’s capital project detail for extending Runway 9/27. Why was there no discussion of the city’s long-range plan for a 400-foot runway extension to the east, requiring costly rerouting of 2,100 feet of Airport Road into the protected Tomoka River ecosystem?

Why has our mayor not explained to citizens why he voted against a runway extension proposal in 2004, but now supports this runway extension?

While longer runways are safer in theory, why has the existing runway length been adequate for decades, without incident or FAA or pilot complaints? Would the FAA allow unsafe operations?

It is disappointing that the May 10th OB Life meeting continued a lack of elected official transparency in making the runway extension decision. Ormond Beach citizens deserve better.

Rob Bridger

Ormond Beach

Runway 9-27

Dear Editor:

Ormond Beach had the opportunity to carry out the 1,000-foot extension west as the grant provided for. However, they want to say they were unable to obtain easements needed from the property owners. What did they do to get such easements?

The Uniform Act could have allowed them to purchase the properties in need. FAA informed them to follow the act. The facts to this are interesting! Now we are subject to: "Must be quiet. Can't mention the 400 feet to the east for five years. Do a 600-foot and a 400-foot extension, making it different projects so NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) does not prejudge this 600 feet."

Part of the extension they want to do now is instead of the 1,000 feet that has been determined to be needed and had a grant awarded for with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on obtaining easements. 

It appears reports are made to show was is wanted while the consultants' documents can only state approximate airport boundary lines. Neither the city nor Hoyle Tanner when asked have a survey of the airport property boundary. How can this be?

This consultant that has remained for many years, now works from "no survey" of airport boundary. So interesting, as a 30-foot wide, 8 to 10 foot deep canal/ditch with water, known as the A-14 canal system, that was done by the Navy to drain the airstrip fails.

It should be mentioned or shown or identified for environmental assessment. Why? This canal is at the city-county boundary line. I feel it should be identified by a field survey for accurate measurements to be used by this consultant. My property adjoins the airport property at this location.

Sharon Trescott

Ormond Beach

My response to the city's response

Dear Editor:

The city stated: “However there is a latent demand by some airport users operating larger aircraft to extend runway 8/26 to reduce their operational restrictions or allow larger aircraft use of the airport”. 

Alright. Again, the city stated: “Or to allow larger aircraft use of the airport."

One of the only two larger aircraft owners at the airport today stated he would purchase a larger aircraft with the runway extension.

So, again, why are you showing in your draft SEA the following C-II aircraft with faster approach speeds needing larger safety areas including Runway Protection Zone for the safety of people on the ground: Hawker 800, Citation X, Challenger 350, Challenger 600 to name a few?  

The city stated: Trees have already been identified by Florida Department of Transportation as obstructing the approach to the existing runway.

I emailed FDOT on Oct. 25, 2021, inquiring about trees addressed in email correspondence between airport and FDOT regarding the 2021 Airport Inspection Report. My purpose was to verify the trees addressed were on airport property. FDOT replied: "So the trees that are documented as the controlling obstruction and are the trees referenced on the inspection report, appear to be on airport property, according to the property appraiser's website”.     

After the city response above, I emailed FDOT relaying the city's response in the Observer inquiring again about off-airport trees currently obstructing the runway. FDOT replied: “The FDOT aviation office has no documentation that trees to the west of the airport are obstructing the approach of the existing runway as they stated in the Ormond Observer.” The only trees listed are on airport property.

Today the subject trees are not an obstruction hazard to air space. You, the city, will cause the aircraft safety issue with the runway extension. Not to mention the "grandfather clause" for pre-existing obstructions.

Karin Augat

Ormond Beach

Proposed A1A 'Upgrades'

Dear Editor:

I reacted with shock and alarm when I read in the May 26 Observer that the Florida Department of Transportation proposed concepts for upgrades on A1A north of Granada Boulevard. Presented at a May 24 community meeting, one of the improvements would install a "chicane" or curve south of Amsden Road "to help slow traffic." The Neptune traffic light and the traffic signal at the Publix Shopping center already assure significant slowdowns and backups. We can only wonder if FDOT considered how semi-trucks serving the shopping center might negotiate the proposed "chicane" curve, and new problems for nighttime traffic on a poorly lit road.

Equally shocking is the artist rendering of a reconstructed A1A and Granada Boulevard intersection looking north from the traffic light. It appears one of the two vital stacking lanes for southbound A1A traffic has been eliminated and replaced with gratuitous landscaped medians. This reconfiguration also appears to severely limit A1A ingress-egress to the Granada Shopping Plaza.

What we really need, FDOT, is resurfacing on a road that has become a rutted washboard with crumbling shoulders in the four-foot right of way area bordering the sidewalk and Oceanside Country Club. Installing buttons and flashing warning lights at the pedestrian crossings might help people and bicycles get to and from the beach, resulting in the additional traffic slowdowns FDOT is seeking. 

Ormond Beach has a transportation consultant on retainer, now in the fourth year of a lucrative five-year contract. What does she think of the FDOT "upgrades" proposed for A1A?

Jeff Boyle

Ormond Beach      



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