Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Group fights airport board

Lunken neighbors opposed

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A neighborhood group wants to make sure a new oversight board at Lunken Airport never gets off the ground.

        Members of the Columbia Tusculum Community Council say the net effect of a community-based board will be to cut out the communities most affected by airport operations.

        In a letter sent Monday to Cincinnati City Council, they say the proposal should be rejected because it limits the number of neighborhood representatives who will sit on the board.

        “If the recommendation is approved, then the people who have a direct voice will lose it,” said Dilip Tripathy, community council president. “I think it dilutes the interest of those living near the airport.”

        The complaint comes at the end of a 30-day development moratorium council imposed on Lunken Airport this month. Responding to citizen concerns about noise and the growth of the airport, council agreed to set up a citizens advisory group to monitor airport functions.

        “I thought everybody was in agreement with the process,” said Dennis Murphey, director of environmental management for the city. “I don't know what the community council is thinking about.”

        About 28 people from various neighborhoods and the airport now sit on the airport Users Advisory Board.

        But under the new plan, only nine would be appointed: Three from airport businesses and private plane owners, four community representatives, an environmentalist and a member-at-large.

        If the plan is approved at the Sept. 7 council meeting, the mayor would make board appointments that would go to council for ratification.

        Mr. Murphey said a formation committee involving many members of the users advisory board set the guidelines for the new board.

        “The group consistently came back to the number nine,” he said. “The consensus of the entire group, including Columbia Tusculum, was nine.”

        But pilot and plane owner Peter Bruemer of Terrace Park said the committee overstepped its authority when it limited the number of people who can sit on the board.

        “It's going to be hard for four people to represent all those (neighborhoods),” he said of the communities beneath airport flight paths. “It doesn't give full representation of the communities around Lunken.”


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