Airports often utilize eminent domain to expand onto nearby properties. As such, one needs to look at what properties are located nearby. Frequently the properties are zoned for industrial uses. Such industrial uses do not have serious concerns with the noise issue. Many other communities place their recreational uses near airports for the same reason. These recreational uses are golf courses or other open space uses awaiting development.
In acquiring areas to expand, airports misunderstand that the recreational use may at some point be converted to a different use; be it industrial or some other use which does not readily fit into the residential/commercial type of environment.
Watz told supervisors on the Economic Development Committee of the Board of Supervisors Monday that eminent domain would be the next step for the county to acquire the property. He said a public hearing would be needed.
Columbia County Economic Development Commissioner Ken Flood has said the county needs the land to comply with FAA regulations regarding a safety zone for landing and takeoffs. That could include a new fenced in safety zone and the removal of more than 130 trees. Two ponds would be filled in as well. Watz said the trees “are a public safety issue.”
The 90 acre navigation easement would cover most of the 96 acre golf course, and place height restrictions on any development there — while leaving ownership to CN Production Management Enterprises LLC, Watz said. In an interview last month, the ownership group’s principal owner Carmen Nero, said the county’s offer was too low and that he would need more money to relocate two holes of the golf course that would be impacted by the county’s acquisition.