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Expert expected to weigh in on issue of airport control

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A citizens board will turn to an expert to learn if Gwinnett officials can restrict in any way commercial flights proposed at Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville.

During a meeting Wednesday, some committee members said they believed the county could have no say in flights, due to Federal Aviation Administration regulations that preclude officials from restricting hours, number of departures and arrivals and other measures.

But Commissioner Lynette Howard, who is working as a liaison to the group in its pursuit of a recommendation on the airport's future, said she believed the county could limit the size of a building at Briscoe Field that would then limit gates and could also ensure large planes are not used because of limited runway strength and length.

Airport Manager Matt Smith added that he believed the FAA honored any restrictions mutually agreed upon with airlines, such as limited hours or gates.

The matter was enough the leave the members scratching their heads and asking for clarification from an expert.

"I think the people who are proponents (of an airport commercialization proposal) are relying on controls through structure," said Lawrenceville Councilman Tony Powell, a committee member. "The opponents are saying we don't trust that. ... This is the crux of the issue."

Howard had asked the board for recommendations to limit the airport's expansion in a way that would be more palatable to a community concerned about noise, traffic and quality of life issues that passenger service could bring to the small airport.

If the terms aren't agreeable to the operator, Howard said, the county could walk away from the deal.

Using a new format created by commissioners after complaints that the citizens task force was not getting the resources it needs, committee members also asked for an expert on the airline industry.

While Howard wasn't immediately convinced of the need, since extensive economic feasibility studies would be conducted before a contract is signed, board members said the fact that the county would be left continuing operations at the airport if the private operator fails means economic factors are of prime concern.

"If there is no demand, then we set the county up to fail," task force chairman Tip Cape said. "It does have a huge impact on our recommendation to the county."

Comments

notblind 2 years, 6 months ago

This is just like the stadium. They get their foot in the door and then every time you turn around they are there trying to slip through more and more development with huge negative impacts on the surrounding home owners.

If there were multiple companies wanting to take over the airport operations then you might could infer that it is a commercially viable situation but when only one company is showing any interest you have to step back and reassess.

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NewsReader 2 years, 6 months ago

Patronize the people of Gwinnett County to get what you want, and THEN change the rules in the middle of the game. That appears to be the motus operandi (yeah I typed it that way just for you davidinflowerybranch) for all of our government officials. Just watch the development in and around the Gwinnett Stadium. Their original proposal went sour, so now they want to change it to something the good citizens of Gwinnett County didn't/wouldn't sign up to. Right davidinflowerybranch?

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SabrinaWorks247 2 years, 6 months ago

From Lynette Howard's comments, it sounds as if some BOC members have already made up their mind that the airport should be commercialized, but they are just trying to figure out how to minimize the damage it does to the quality of life and home values. I agree with Mike Korom's comment that these are clearly not the economic times to be a big risk taker with county/citizens funds. With a track record of 100% failure, why do some commissioners believe that they should gamble on this FAA program?

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

Restricting traffic by airline agreement? Interesting concept air carrier signs contract, files/declares bankruptcy to void contracts and poof - NO Restrictions!

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

Control traffic by restrictive structure? Has anyone contacted NASCAR to see if we can borrow “restrictor plate” technology?

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

Commercial airport “lite”, like Peachtree Corners - but with wings! Everybody knows that wings make it better…

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