Airport Expansion: Valentine or Massacre?
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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
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is "screwed up," the data is outdated, much has changed, and other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
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
(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
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
--Commissioner John Rodstrom phone 954-357-7007; fax 954-357-8088
--Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger phone 954-357-7006; fax 954-357-7295
Those that don't get it yet include:
--Mayor Diana Wasserman-Rubin phone 954-357-7008; fax 954-357-5705
--Vice Mayor Ilene Lieberman phone 954-357-7001; fax 954-357-7295
--Commissioner Jim Scott phone 954-357-7004; fax 954-357-7798
--Commissioner Kristin Jacobs phone 954-357-7002; fax 954-357-7295
--Commissioner Ben Graber phone 954-357-7003; fax 954-357-7319
--Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion phone 954-357-7009; fax 954-357-5707
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
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
''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
''That is a policy decision that must be made by the county commissioners,''
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
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