February 18, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Construction is proceeding full speed on a shopping center near Pottstown, Pa., despite the FAA’s determination that it is a hazard to operations at Pottstown Municipal Airport. AOPA has stepped in to urge that it be stopped.
“According to the FAA’s analysis, the Upland Square shopping center near the Pottstown Municipal Airport will cause higher instrument landing minimums and is located inside the airport traffic pattern area,” says AOPA Senior Director of Airports Heidi J. Williams. Williams has asked Borough of Pottstown Mayor Sharon V. Thomas to take action to protect the pilots and stop the project. The shopping center, which would include a Giant food store, Target, J.C. Penny, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples, Petco, and A.C. Moore, is in West Potsgrove Township, but the airport is managed by the Borough of Pottstown, which has the obligation to protect the airport.
“West Pottsgrove Township was to enact hazardous zoning to protect the airport, and they have not done that. Instead, they have approved incompatible land uses near the airport,” Williams said.
Williams said the Borough is obligated under FAA rules when it accepted Airport Improvement Program funds to keep terminal airspace free of obstructions and to prevent incompatible land use near the airport. Under Pennsylvania law, every day that an obstruction exists is a summary offense.
Last year the Borough threatened to sue West Potsgrove Township, partly because no application had been filed with the FAA. The Borough withdrew the threat when the developer said an application had been filed.
“We appreciate that the Borough of Pottstown last year threatened legal action to force the developer to file an FAA application, but now we need Pottstown to take action based on the FAA’s hazard finding,” Williams said.
Advocacy and Legislation,
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.
Sometimes in politics, the good news is that bad news won’t happen. Thanks to AOPA, antique aircraft collectors and aviation employers in Louisiana dodged legislative bullets that would have raised the costs of aircraft ownership or of doing business.
Question: Is there a visual aid to help me understand notams that change the configuration of an airport during construction?