FAA to Review Tree Removal Plan at Crisfield Airport - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

FAA to Review Tree Removal Plan at Crisfield Airport

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CRISFIELD, Md.- A plan to remove trees around the Crisfield-Somerset County Airport is moving forward. 

Somerset County officials recently approved a five-year capital improvement plan that will be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plan calls for the removal of trees and other obstructions along the path pilots use to land, according to Jennifer Lutz, who works for URS Corporation, a consulting firm that is working with the county.

In a statement, Lutz said, "the purpose of the project is to meet current FAA requirements outlined in 14 CFR Part 77, Objects Affecting Navigable Airspace, and FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design." Lutz also said the proposed project is a safety maintenance project  and is needed in order to protect public safety and preserve the existing published arrival and departure procedures for the runways.

Joe Lewis has lived near the airport for 69 years. Lewis supports the plan.

 "If the planes come in to land and take off, you don't want no obstructions in their view," Lewis said. " So, I think it's a good idea."

Though safety is a top priority for Robert Lehman, who lives near the airport as well, he is not in favor of the obstruction removal plan.

"I don't know what it's going to prove," said Lehman, who thinks an underlying reason for removal of trees is to draw more air traffic to the airport. "They're trying to change the basic category of the airport in hopes of getting more traffic. It just will not happen."

In the statement, Lutz said the airport is undergoing an environmental assessment that falls under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate environmental impacts. Once the assessments are complete, Lutz said the airport will enter its next phase which involves negotiating easements for land acquisition. 
Once that land is acquired, construction or planting any vegetation on-site will be restricted.


Meanwhile,  the county will seek a grant, in 2016, for parcels where signed agreements were obtained. In 2017, a grant will be sought from the FAA to cover the cost of the design phase to remove trees. In 2017, an evaluation of the runway will be conducted in Somerset County. 


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