My name is Donna Frost and I applaud the editorial, “Trouble brewing in Barrow over Airport, in the February 8 edition of The Braselton News.
I am a member of the Concerned Barrow Citizens/Airport Watch Group and have been for the past 5 months. Also, I am a life-long resident of Barrow County and I live near the Northeast Georgia Regional Airport.
In June 2007, our local county officials purchased 200+ acres of land across the street from the airport. The Barrow County Board of Commissioners said they are going to extend Runway 13-31 from 5,500 feet to 7,000 feet. The fact is, our airport is sandwiched between Briscoe Field in Gwinnett County and Athens Ben Epps. Why do we need this expansion of our runway when the airport claims to be a general aviation airport?
On September 25, 2007, the Barrow BOC voted to use the power of eminent domain and condemned the property of landowners Jimmy and Elaine Smith. The land was condemned to install an Instrument Landing System. I found this to be heartbreaking. Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s land was in the family before the airport. Why use the power of eminent domain for a general aviation airport?
On October 23, 2007 at the Barrow BOC meeting, the board adopted a resolution that the Northeast Georgia Regional Airport would not become the second Atlanta airport. I appreciate the fact that the BOC voted in favor of this resolution However, the fact is that the board still has an opportunity to expand our airport. “It’s not something that these commissioners want,” said BOC chairman Doug Garrison to one newspaper. “But that is the way this commission feels right now. As the commission changes, its stance on the airport could change as well.”
All of the above facts lead me to the purpose of my letter. Our community still remains very concerned about an airport runway expansion that would change our quality of life, endanger our agricultural land and lower our property values. We are vigilant that the airport could become a freight/cargo airport. Unfortunately, these planes fly mostly at night. A freight airport will bring more pollution, noise and traffic.
The Concerned Citizens of Barrow County is not an anti-growth group. We are for controlled growth and developing our infrastructure that it will be favorable to all in Barrow County. The residents of our county expect industry that is not harmful and that potentially will not bring any health ramifications Studies have proven that living near a cargo/freight airport increase the chances of diseases such as cancer, lung disease, learning disabilities in children and complications with pregnancies, just to name a few.
To the Barrow County Board of Commissioners, I respectfully ask that you listen to your conscience when making plans for the airport. Please consider other options instead of expanding our runway and creating harm to our county. When we elected you into office, we expected that the good of all to be considered, not just a few.
The Northeast Georgia Airport Runway 13-31 is more than adequate to fulfill the needs of a general aviation airport. Therefore, the “million dollar question” still remains unanswered: Mr. Garrison, why did the Barrow County Board of Commissioners vote to expand our airport?
Donna W. Frost, Winder
Says airport funds could be used for other things
Thank you so much for the editorial on the airport expansion in Barrow County. The thing that is really bad is that the county elected officials are not thinking about what they are doing to our county in the future. It can’t all be about money.
It is time that someone let the people of this county know we are not going to stand back and let a select group of people do what they want in this county. The $35 million they appropriated for the airport could have been spent for much better causes: Water, roads and sewage. The only place you will find sewage in this county is where you find industrial land. Again, this is for the select few.
We need growth. We need to look to the future and not do the things that will distort our great county.
Daniel Yearwood, Winder
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I am a tenant on The North Georgia Regional Airport. I run The Flight School Of Barrow County, and we pay more rent to the county than any other tenant on the airport. Several years ago the Airport Authority made a decision to increase our rent by nearly double (from what we were paying). We of course could not absorb such an increase, so we have been paying the increase under protest with reservation of right. Our attorney has corresponded with John Stell the county attorney many times to no avail. In November of 2007 I requested and attended a meeting with Commissioner Doug Garrison along with six other airport business patrons to discuss several issues on how poorly the airport authority had been treating us. Commissioner Garrison asked for some lease changes with in ninety days, which would have been February of 2008 and still nothing has been accomplished to date. We have been absolutely ignored on lease issues. When we have pleaded to the Airport Authority that we need our leases in order to protect, or negotiate business dealings, we were told "it is not in our best interest to give anyone a long term lease on this airport". The Commissioners and the Airport Authority seem only to be concerned with themselves and not with the people who actually support them. We need a positive change in administration, and we need it now.
841 Ronald Wood Road
Winder, GA 30680