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AOPA calls on New York attorney general to protect airportAOPA calls on New York attorney general to protect airport

AOPA is calling on the state of New York to step in and stop a developer who's building a shopping center in the runway protection zone and directly in the final approach path at Republic Airport (FRG). In a letter to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, AOPA said the state should participate in a lawsuit filed by the Long Island Business Aviation Association to block the noncompatible development.

Republic Airport is owned by the state of New York and a portion of the property approved for development is subject to conditions set forth by the state. Despite zoning approval for the shopping center by the Town of Babylon, AOPA contends that the state should exercise its authority to prevent the development and preserve the safety of the airport by reclaiming the land.

Incompatible land use is one of the biggest threats airports nationwide continue to face.

"The location of this development in such close proximity to the airport and in the direct approach path could result in higher instrument approach minimums, rendering the airport less viable in limited weather situations and overall significantly reduce a pilot's options for a safe area of open space in the event of an emergency," wrote AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn.

A hearing scheduled for this week was delayed. However, in a phone call placed on Tuesday to the attorney general's office, AOPA was encouraged to hear that the state was taking advantage of the delay in the proceedings to work toward a resolution.

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