BELFAST, Maine After an anonymous flyer went up around the city of Belfast last week asking residents to expose and oppose the citys plans to expand its municipal airport, Tuesday nights regular city council meeting was standing room only.
And even though Mayor Walter Ash made it clear from the outset of the meeting that there is no plan to expand the Belfast airport, that didnt seem to quell the concerns of the people who packed the Belfast City Hall council chambers. Many present said that they felt perplexed about what the city does plan to do with the airport. City Councilors were scheduled Tuesday night only to discuss and possibly take action on the cutting of trees near the airport runway to make it safer for planes to land and take off.
I am deeply troubled, Ridgely Fuller of Belfast said during the public comment portion of the meeting. Im talking about the confusion of what the public is DIY Safety understanding I believe that until the public is truly informed, there should be no easements and there should be no trees taken.
But the confusion didnt end there as councilors debated the tree cutting issue for more than an hour. According to City Manager Joe Slocums April 15 managers report, more than a year ago the Federal Aviation Administration advised Belfast officials that details for your garden the city would have to restrict the use of the airport because nearby trees had grown tall enough to impact the protected airspace for landings and takeoffs.
The city cut those trees and undertook gardening a survey to identify other potential tree obstructions, Slocum wrote. During that survey, they found that there are some problem trees on an organic farm located close to the airport and on which the city does have an easement to remove vegetation. But farmer Anne Hallee of Rising Up Farm told councilors Tuesday that she was shocked and upset to learn that the city planned to do mechanized clear-cutting of hundreds of her trees.
We will lose most of our forested buffer, she told councilors. We will be considered in violation of our organic certification.
Instead, Hallee offered to remove the problem trees at no cost to the city. But that strategy might not meet FAA policies, warned Richard details for your garden Lasdin of Airport Solutions Group Inc., the Massachusetts-based company hired by Belfast to be the citys airport consultant.
Ultimately, councilors decided to enter into an agreement with Rising Up Farm to have the farmers cut the problematic energy directory trees.
But if it gets to the point where the FAA says cut trees or close the airport, well have no choice, said Councilor Neal Harkness.