As a resident of West Lakeview Drive, I have concerns about the current Baldwin County Airport plans. We have lived here for 32 years, and until recently the airport has had no negative impact on nearby residential areas. No one minded the small aircraft that the airport was designed to handle when it opened in 1959. This is no longer the case. This airport should remain as it was intended, for the use of small single and multi-engine aircraft. The accommodation of jet aircraft was not a consideration when lakefront property was first developed in the early 1960’s.
The county purchased land, at no small expense, in the southern part of the county near the Fall Line Freeway. About twenty years ago, give or take, there was a proposal to build a larger airport there because of the potential for expansion and further development. Surely no one believes that the current location will be adequate in five to ten years, much less fifty years. Development needs to look that far into the future, not to just meet the needs of the past ten or fifteen years.
For industry to come to Baldwin County, there needs to be not only a much larger airport to accommodate jet aircraft, but also an Interstate. The best chance of that happening is along the Fall Line Freeway.
Now, to address the problems concerning the residents of the neighborhoods being impacted by the jets using the Baldwin County Airport. Consider the following:
- Currently these neighborhoods pay a substantial percentage of the property taxes collected by the county.
- The noise from jet aircraft and the high visibility of the current hangers will have a negative impact on property value and the prospect of selling current homes. If property values drop, so will the taxes collected from this area.
- The decibel level of jet engines is high enough to damage hearing and negatively impacts the quality of life in the entire area.
- There is now a required environmental assessment (EA) prior to any new
development of the lower west end and the east apron. The removal of trees was not part of the CIP currently in place, as the current CIP is only in the design stage.
- Work at the Airport seems to have have been started without going through the proper channels.
- Before any more money is spent on the current airport, the alternatives need to be considered.
Arlene D. Downer