One of the most persistent rationales voiced by proponents of lengthening the runway at Hilton Head Island Airport is that both the 5,000-foot intermediate length and the ultimate 5,400-foot length would fit within the existing airport "footprint."
What the runway-lengthening advocates don't publicize is the fact that the master plan for the airport, supported by the county's capital expenditure plans, shows the necessity of acquiring land outside of the airport footprint to facilitate the lengthening.
These documents show that in 2012, $3 million is to be spent to acquire approximately 3.2 acres outside the footprint between the airport and Hunter Road. The documents also show that in 2013, $5.1 million is to be spent on acquiring approximately 5 acres outside the footprint between the airport and Beach City Road on the north end.
The master plan also details the mandatory acquisition for safety of approximately 10.4 acres on the north end, which is outside the footprint and on the other side of Beach City Road from the airport. Finally, approximately 21.6 acres on the northeast side of the airport (now green space) are targeted for purchase in later years to facilitate the construction of hangar and apron space.
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The above acreage outside the current footprint totals about 40.4 acres, a 23 percent enlargement of existing airport space. Our beautiful island and taxpayers will take another hit.
Dan CleyratHilton Head Island