Letters to the Editor

Don't misrepresent views of church, area residents

I am tired of letter writers stating that St. James Baptist Church and residents near the airport want Hilton Head Island Airport to go away. Not true.

We don't want the airport to go away; we have no problem as it now exists.

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce reports 2 million visitors annually; about 2.5 percent -- or 50,000 -- arrive at the airport. The runway extension is not for that small number of people. Just the opposite. It is for a very small group of private jet owners, who pay neither landing fees nor support for the airport fire station. They are the driving force for the runway extension. Those who object to the runway extension have been characterized as being a small group of selfish people. Quite the opposite.

We wholeheartedly agree that the trees should be trimmed to meet federal regulations, but there is no need for tree removal. The trees haven't been trimmed in 12 years because Beaufort County failed to allocate funds for it, while private plane owners get away with not paying landing fees.

Library hours have been reduced, staff laid off, services cut -- affecting everyone -- while a privileged few don't support the airport as they should. Where is the fairness?

One recent writer wrote, "... any displacement of the church or infringement on property is just plain wrong."

If the airport were located at the other end of the island, would the residents there object to moving the lighthouse?

Anne Petrat

Hilton Head Island

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