Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Airport restates plan to fix tree problem

Express Staff Writer

In addition to eliminating a writing error in an earlier resolution, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority Tuesday restated hopes of negotiating access to the adjoining Eccles Flying Hat Ranch property to install red obstruction lights as warning to pilots of cottonwood trees on the airport runway's southerly approach.

However, the board's page-and-a-half resolution also reconfirmed its intention to use eminent domain condemnation powers if negotiations fail.

Authority members voted on the resolution at a special meeting, then went into closed-door executive session for about an hour. What they discussed was not disclosed, but presumably involved the disputed trees.

Friedman faces an Oct. 26 deadline to resolve the impasse with owners of the ranch. The Federal Aviation Administration publishes new approach procedures on that date.

If the trees are not lighted, trimmed or removed by then, Friedman officials fear some nighttime flights of Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines could be canceled because of company operating rules.

New printed approach procedures could not be revised for another six months or more, according to Airport Manager Rick Baird.

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