Letters to the Editor

Don't blame lawsuit for delay on airport trees

Tuesday's editorial appears to distort the facts surrounding the St. James Baptist Church lawsuit on two points.

It implies that the church is the major reason no action has been taken on the trees at the runway's north end. The previous zoning ordinance and its current amendment allow Beaufort County to trim the trees to a 34:1 slope. This work has not been done for five years. Why doesn't the Packet opine on that issue? The county has said it does not have the money to do this until the Federal Aviation Administration funds it. The county has delayed on the trees, while finding funds to support the Heritage golf tournament (a good idea) and possibly purchase an overpriced industrial park.

The editorial also implies that USAirways is losing revenue due to the untrimmed trees. Informal discussions with their local staff do not support that. USAirways has accommodated all passengers one way or the other.

The issue for the airport neighbors is clear-cutting more than seven acres of trees, most of which do not impinge into the 34:1 slope.

Clear-cutting these trees will increase the ambient ground-level aircraft noise levels to the church and the surrounding residential communities. FAA Advisory Circular 150 indicates that tree mass provides attenuation of aircraft ground noise. The FAA is on record that if the airport were unsafe, it would be closed.

Neither the church nor the surrounding communities have ever objected to selective trimming of the trees to achieve the proper glide slope.

Bob Richardson

Hilton Head Island

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