Thursday, October 14, 2010

381 plan raises concerns

Airport 381 plan raises concerns
By Mike Blackwell
The Smithville Times
October 14, 2010

A pair of citizens briefly shared concerns about the 381 Agreement for the proposed Central Texas Airport Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court.

The airport proposed by Austin developer Jim Carpenter remains in the planning stages. Tom Thompson told commissioners that several legal loopholes exist in the agreement, including the possibility of a large number of daily cargo flights, the circumvention of various FAA safety rules, a lack of public notification, the absence of an environmental impact study and the lack of an on-site noise study.

“Many of these concerns were raised in a letter sent to the court in August, followed by a response from the court’s attorneys on Sept. 1, 2010, which was evasive, and completely non-responsive,” Thompson read from a prepared statement. “These questions remain unanswered. We are respectively requesting an answer to the legal questions and whether the same legal team that ‘vetted’ the 381 Agreement has, or has not, closed these loopholes.”

Phil Cook, representing the Bastrop County Sierra Club, also spoke to the commissioners about the airport, adding that commissioners have cost citizens gathering information about the project “thousands of hours of time.”

County Judge Ronnie McDonald said the county could not address the concerns at the meeting, and referred Thompson to Ronnie Moore, the county’s planning and project management director. Moore said after the meeting that he would continue an ongoing dialogue with Thompson.

“We are requesting that the commissioners court create an airport zoning commission to address the public’s concerns in a series of public meetings,” Thompson said. “We were promised a meeting by the court in 2009, but it has not been scheduled. I might remind you that the primary goal of governance is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the governed, not to facilitate the profits of corporate speculators.”

In other court action:

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