As an update to a previous story, AOPA has formally asked the FAA to reject a request by Martin County, Florida, to shorten a runway at Witham Field in Stuart. The FAA had directed the county to reestablish the runway protection zone on the approach end of Runway 12 to pre-1998 conditions, meet current safety criteria, and minimize the impact on airport users. The alternative selected by the county would shorten the runway by 460 feet and, because of the airport layout, actually create more noise for residents. AOPA, in its letter [ download], argued for a different alternative that would not lead to more noise issues and would preserve the runway's length. Also, the upgrades in the alternative would be fundable by FAA monies. The AOPA-supported alternative was recommended by the county's own consultants but ignored by county commissioners. Commissioners chose instead to accept an alternative offered by an anti-airport group. The county's proposal would not only require an expensive environmental impact statement, but would lead to a bigger loss of airport revenue and threaten eligibility for federal funding.
August 11, 2006