Beaufort County board calls for action on Lady's Island airport plan

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJune 20, 2013 

A 20-year, $25-million plan to improve the Beaufort County Airport on Lady's Island must move forward, airport officials said Thursday.

The plan has been stalled by County Council since November, according to Beaufort County Airports Board chairman Pete Buchanan.

The delay means a state reimbursement to the county for creating the plan also is being held up, Buchanan said during an Airports Board meeting.

The plan, which was prepared by consulting firm CDM Smith and released in August 2011, includes a recommendation to extend the 3,434-foot runway by 966 feet.

A vote on the 20-year plan was tabled in November after council members objected to its implementation cost and the environmental problems it might create. Some residents of nearby Dataw Island have also raised concerns about increased plane noise that would come from an expanded airport.

Until council adopts the plan, the S.C. Aeronautics Commission will withhold its share of the $310,500 that paid for the plan's creation.

The county and state each agreed to contribute 5 percent of the cost -- about $7,750 a piece -- with the Federal Aviation Administration paying the remaining 90 percent.

The county, state and federal governments would pay those same percentages for the overall improvement plan.

Councilman Stu Rodman, who serves as the Airports Board's liaison to council, agreed it's time for council to vote.

"I don't know what the issue is that's holding it up," he said after Thursday's meeting. "I thought it was going to come forward before now."

The Beaufort County Airports Board also heard an update Thursday on a nearly $2 million project to expand the Hilton Head Island Airport's terminal.

Construction bids could be sought next month, with work to begin in fall, according to county engineering director Rob McFee.

The improvements include more seating, security areas and restrooms. The cost will be shared by the FAA, the state and the county, with the county and state each paying 5 percent and the FAA paying the rest.

Related content

  1. Planned Hilton Head Airport terminal expansion will add seating, restrooms, May 13, 2013
  2. Sommerville to seek action on Lady's Island airport plan, Feb. 14, 2013

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