Thursday, October 20, 2016

State Seeks Airspace Easements at Hartness

Happenings in and around Springfield VT's photo.
Happenings in and around Springfield VT
State seeks airspace easements at Hartness
SPRINGFIELD —The state says it needs to buy airspace at the ends of Hartness State Airport’s main runway so it can cut trees that are creating a hazard for pilots.
Jason Owen, project manager for the state Agency of Transportation, said Tuesday a public hearing on the avigation, or airspace, easement project will be held Thursday with the public and affected property owners invited.
He said the state needs easements for 14 properties in Springfield and Weathersfield at the south and north ends of the main runway.
While most of the airport and Runway 23 is in Springfield, the north end is in Weathersfield. Owen said most of the needed easements are in Springfield, and some are as far away as a half-mile from the airport.
“The survey done has included property that is a quarter mile away, and even half a mile away,” Owen said.
He said the state held a meeting with affected property owners a few weeks ago.
“The ends of the runways need to be protected from obstructions,” he said.
“We’re talking generally trees,” Owen said, noting that no buildings had been identified as a safety threat.
The proposed improvements come as the town is hoping that the airport plays a bigger role in economic development. The town is studying extending the municipal water and sewer lines to the airport, which is owned by the state.
Hartness State Airport was the first airport in Vermont, as Gov. James Hartness of Springfield was an early aviation supporter.
Owen said he doesn’t know how much money the state is spending on the project, but he said rights-of-way negotiations are always a sensitive matter.
Owen said trees can grow 80 feet tall, and depending on the contour of the land, can be a hazard to planes either landing or taking off.
“We need to protect the air space,” he said, and to meet the Federal Aviation Administration design standards “that go with operating an airport.”
The hearing, which will be held at the Springfield Town Office, begins at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Rutland Herald

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