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Airport Expansion: Valentine or Massacre?

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  • SaveOurShoreline@aol.com
    You must pass this along to your friends, neighbors, relatives, civic and homeowner groups -- we need to multiply in order to be successful! Provided below: 1.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2003
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      You must pass this along to your friends, neighbors, relatives, civic and
      homeowner groups -- we need to multiply in order to be successful!

      Provided below:

      1. General Update including information from Clean Airport Partnership (CAP)
      2. Next Steps by County
      3. Suggested Action Steps by YOU
      4. Most Recent Newspress

      1. General Update -- including information from Clean Airport Partnership
      (CAP)

      As you know, the Broward County Commission contracted independent
      consultants to provide them with an independent assessment of the airport
      expansion issue. Mr. Peter Kirsch of Akin Gump was to provide an assessment
      of the legal sufficiency of the Environmental Impact Statement in all its
      forms (DEIS, SDEIS, SSDEIS). Steve Howards of Clean Airport Partnership
      (CAP) is to provide some recommendations on how we should proceed.

      In a nutshell, it is very clear and has been confirmed by many sources
      that the EIS in its current form is legally insufficient (which may be
      exactly why the County does not want to produce the Akin Gump report).

      Additionally, CAP believes that even if you support a 9,000 foot
      runway, the EIS fails in several other respects (e.g., the purpose and need
      is "screwed up," the data is outdated, much has changed, and other
      alternatives previously dismissed may be viable now. The delay analysis is
      faulty. There's no analysis of cross runway use, or the cumulative impacts of
      changes occurring since initiation of EIS). We now have data we didn't have
      when we started this process back in 1994 such as the single event noise
      contours that have just been completed, and the property value analysis which
      should be completed in the next week. The County has been asked to authorize
      an additional $250,000 for HNTB for further work on the current EIS.
      The current EIS (and all its supplements) is substandard. Many are wondering
      why it took MIA three years to produce an EIS and it's taking FLL 10 years?

      It is fair to conclude that the EIS in its current form is
      insufficient. It will take a great deal of time, money and effort to try to
      "fix" it (which is one option). Another option, however, is to move forward
      with an update of the airport master plan with a review of all the
      alternatives.

      There have been several suggestions for looking at various runway
      alternatives such as no expansion, expand between 6,000 to 7,000 feet or
      expand 9,000 feet. CAP suggests that an 8.500 foot runway can do everythng
      a 9,000 foot one could do, but without the direct wetland impact. There have
      been suggestions about tweaking the design of the runway to build it at grade
      within the parameters of the airport (to expand to the west a bit by
      demolishing the Hilton and re-routing the Dania Cut-off Canal and not go over
      the railroad tracks and US 1).

      The Broward County Commission needs to decide whether to (1) try to
      fix the flawed EIS; or (2) move forward with an update of the master plan
      with a review of all the alternatives. (We prefer option 2.)

      CAP suggests that if the County Commission moves forward to try to fix
      the flawed EIS to build the 9,000 foot runway, they should:

      (1) have the County Attorney find out from the FAA exactly what is
      needed to complete the EIS process and get a commitment from the FAA that it
      will issue a Record of Decision (ROD);

      (2) determine the legally defensibility of the EIS. Akin Gump
      finished its job and is no longer involved. We have to assume that Peter
      Kirsch, Akin Gump, told the County that the EIS was not legally defensible.
      CAP recommends that the County not take the FAA's legal opinion on this.
      Early indications are that Ed Dion, County Attorney, feels that the FAA's
      opinion is sound and believes that the EIS can be fixed and be legally
      defensible. CAP suggests the County get independent (not FAA) advice on this.

      (3) recognize that the entire process thus far lacks credibility. It
      appears that a conclusion was reached first, with the analysis occurring
      afterward to justify the project. CAP did not make recommendations for
      resolving this issue.

      CAP also suggested some mitigation strategies that could be applied in moving
      forward:

      (1) The Interlocal Agreements do not mean anything, if it they aren't
      enforceable. The FAA needs to formally adopt the operational restrictions
      within the interlocal agreements.

      (2) The valid concerns regarding dimunition in property values needs
      to be addressed. The County should explore "insurance policy" type
      provisions for the dimunition in propety values to make property owners whole
      (and we suggest something needs to be done to make municipalities relying on
      property taxes whole as well).

      (3) There has to be agreement that the south runway will not be used
      during the evening -- even during unconstrained use situations in the future.
      The County must ensure a quiet period (e.g., from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am)
      similar to what occurs at John Wayne Airport to provide a comfort level to
      those who live to the south of the airport.

      (4) The considerable impacts to John U. Lloyd State Park must be
      addressed. There will be profound noise impacts on parks, especially John U.
      Lloyd with single events at 90+ decibels. Average levels will exceed 75. It's
      not fair to average noise levels (to include a higher weighting on nighttime
      hours) at parks when they are not used at night. This issue must be
      addressed.

      2. Next Steps by County

      Clean Airport Partnership has individually briefed 8 of our 9 County
      Commissioners. According to them, they are tentatively scheduled to provide
      all this information to the County Commission at a workshop tentatively
      scheduled for Thursday, February 13th (time to be announced).

      It is anticipated that the Commission will then take some type of
      formal action on this issue on Tuesday, February 18th.

      We will keep you posted on dates/times/location of meetings as we
      learn this information.

      No one from the County has advised us of any of this. There has been
      no notice to us about these upcoming meetings and there has been no
      dissemination of any reports or information used to support the presentation
      by CAP or the work done by Leigh Fisher. We have continued to be kept "out
      of the process." We only know what we have gone in and searched for and
      demanded. Of course, this is of utmost concern to us. We still do not have
      open, full disclosure of information which should not and cannot be
      tolerated. We were told time and time again by our Commissioners that we
      would be intimately involved in the process (as is, by the way, required by
      law) but that still has not happened.

      3. Suggested Action Steps by YOU

      We also learned from CAP that a majority of the County Commissioners
      want to move forward to expand the South Runway to 9,000 feet. If the vote
      were taken today, CAP tells us, there are only three Commissioners that would
      vote to update the master plan with a review of all the alternatives
      (Commissioners Parrish, Rodstrom, Gunzburger).

      Our number one priority at this time is to educate the Mayor
      (Wasserman-Rubin), Vice Mayor (Lieberman) and the remaining 4 Commissioners
      (Jacobs, Scott, Eggelletion, Graber) so they have the same understanding as
      the other three and can come to only one conclusion: we need to update our
      almost 10 year old airport master plan with a review of all the alternatives.
      Anything less is unacceptable. Of course, we need to also thank
      Commissioners Parrish, Rodstrom and Gunzburger for doing their homework and
      representing the people well on this issue.

      So, without further delay, contact the County Commissioners, write
      them, fax them, email them, set an appointment for breakfast, brunch, lunch,
      tea, dinner, a night cap, whatever, but please get the following message to
      the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Commissioners: If you can't hear us, please listen
      to your independent consultants and their advice. If you do, you will come
      to only one conclusion: We need to update the almost 10 year old airport
      master plan with a review of all the alternatives.

      Those that get it include:

      --Commissioner Lori Nance Parrish phone 954-370-3700; fax 954-357-7044
      email: lparrish@...
      --Commissioner John Rodstrom phone 954-357-7007; fax 954-357-8088
      email: jrodstrom@...
      --Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger phone 954-357-7006; fax 954-357-7295
      email: sgunzburger@...

      Those that don't get it yet include:

      --Mayor Diana Wasserman-Rubin phone 954-357-7008; fax 954-357-5705
      email: dwassermanrubin@...
      --Vice Mayor Ilene Lieberman phone 954-357-7001; fax 954-357-7295
      email: ilieberman@...
      --Commissioner Jim Scott phone 954-357-7004; fax 954-357-7798
      email: lcastillo@...
      --Commissioner Kristin Jacobs phone 954-357-7002; fax 954-357-7295
      email: kjacobs@...
      --Commissioner Ben Graber phone 954-357-7003; fax 954-357-7319
      email: bgraber@...
      --Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion phone 954-357-7009; fax 954-357-5707
      email cymartin@...

      Please, make it your personal mission to contact your County Commissioners.
      Set an appointment with them. Do breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner,
      night cap -- invite them to an onsite visit at your HOME to show them
      first-hand the problems with moving forward without thinking!

      4. Most recent newspress


      FAA report flawed, consultant says
      BY ELENA CABRAL, ecabral@...
      Posted on Sat., Feb. 01, 2003

      Meeting separately with friends and foes of expansion plans at the Fort
      Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a Broward County consultant
      Friday highlighted flaws in a Federal Aviation Administration report he said
      must be corrected.

      Steven Howards, of the Colorado-based Clean Airport Partnership, met with
      groups in preparation for a workshop with county commissioners, tentatively
      scheduled for Feb. 13.

      Howards said the environmental impact statement, a report that helps federal
      aviation officials decide on the proposed extension of the airport's south
      runway to 9,000 feet, is flawed in part because it doesn't analyze all of the
      alternatives called for in a ''purpose and need'' section of the report.

      But Howards said several times that if the county commission's goal is to
      maximize the capacity and the operational flexibility at the airport, the
      9,000-foot runway is the option ''that makes sense'' based on the information
      available.

      Terry Stiles, a construction executive who hosted Howard's meeting with
      several supporters of runway expansion in Fort Lauderdale, took those words
      as an affirmation the project is moving in the right direction.

      ''I'm more encouraged today,'' Stiles said.

      Howards plans to make several recommendations to the county at the workshop.
      They include providing insurance to homeowners whose property values are
      diminished as a result of the runway expansion, ensuring a ''quiet period''
      in air traffic during night hours, and looking for ways to minimize the noise
      impact and improve conditions at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park.

      Brenda Lee Chalifour, an opponent of the runway expansion, said the plan also
      lacks other important measurements, such as the loss of the benefits of a
      pristine park.

      ''The quality of life of the community is not factored in,'' Chalifour said.

      Howards said the extent to which commissioners decide to explore other
      alternatives such as a substantially shorter runway will determine whether
      the report must be revamped altogether, a process that can take several
      years.

      ''That is a policy decision that must be made by the county commissioners,''
      Howards said.

      -----------
      Please note: The operative language in the information above is: that if
      the county commission's goal is to maximize the capacity and the operational
      flexibility at the airport, the 9,000-foot runway is the option ''that makes
      sense'' based on the information available.

      Save Our Shoreline contends that if the County Commission's goal is to
      maximize the capacity and the operational flexibility at the airport, four
      runways are better than three (i.e., two parallel north runways plus the
      south runway plus the crosswind runway) BUT maximizing the capacity and
      operational flexibility at the airport should not and cannot be the County
      Commission's goal: Their goals needs to be to protect the quality of life of
      those of us who live, work, play and pay taxes here, and who have a right to
      expect better from our elected officials!

      Please, set appointments with your Commissioners today. They need to be
      educated!


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