Recent letter writers are wrong to conflate tree trimming at the airport with tree cutting. There is a vast difference between trimming trees as opposed to cutting trees to the ground.
The Federal Aviation Administration guidelines determine the height that trees should be trimmed to be below the takeoff and landing slopes of airplanes. Those guidelines do not require clear-cutting trees to the ground. Scott Serrit of the Atlanta FAA office confirmed that point last summer, saying that it was a local decision.
No one that I know is opposed to appropriate tree trimming to meet FAA guidelines in order to have a safe airport. It is the clear-cutting of trees on airport property that upsets neighboring communities.
Trees form a natural sound barrier that diffuses the noise of airplanes. When trees have been cut to the ground that barrier is gone and the noise level increases. The decision by the Beaufort County and Hilton Head Island councils to cut the trees to the ground sets the stage for the next step, to build sound barriers around the airport in order to provide noise abatement equivalent to that which existed before the tree cutting.
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The unnecessary expense of cutting the trees to the ground causes another, more costly expense of a noise barrier wall that might not be covered by the FAA and that we, the taxpayers of Beaufort County, might have to pay.
Hilton Head Island