AOPA will be in Pompano Beach, Fla., next week to discuss with pilots a serious threat to Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP). The city of Pompano Beach is supporting construction of two high-rise condominium buildings that will create a hazard to air navigation.
AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn and Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes will meet with pilots at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, at the Pompano Beach Civic Center auditorium, located on the south side of the airport, across from the FBO. They will explain proposed "mitigation" measures drawn up by a past FAA acting administrator on behalf of developer George Rethati and the Beach Colony Corporation.
"This development, if built, will hurt the airport and restrict pilots' access to it," said Dunn. "It is vital that we, and more importantly, the city, hear directly from our members what they think about this proposal."
The battle over the Ocean Heights development project has been simmering for months. In January, AOPA sent a strongly worded letter to Pompano Beach City Manager C. William Hargett, Jr., reminding him that the city has no choice but to oppose the development because of deed obligations undertaken when the city acquired the airport from the federal government after World War II. The deed states in part that Pompano Beach "shall adequately clear and protect the aerial approaches to the airport by removing, lowering, relocating, marking, or lighting or otherwise mitigating existing airport hazards, and by preventing the establishment or creation of future hazards [emphasis added]."
Instead, the city has chosen to support the project, allowing the developer to suggest mitigating measures such as changing the traffic pattern, limitations to runway access, and even elimination of some departure procedures.
"Pompano Beach Airpark is home to more than 245 based aircraft and handled roughly 200,000 operations last year," said Dunn. "The city must understand the negative impact that the Ocean Heights development will have on the airport. I urge any pilot who can attend next Wednesday's meeting to be there."