Friday, May 21, 2004

Explain yourself: David Crowley on Lunken decision

On Wednesday, Cincinnati City Council voted to lengthen the main runway but reject scheduled commercial passenger service at Lunken Airport. The timing of the decision, made before a noise study and a new master plan were completed, surprised some observers. Councilman David Crowley, chair of the Community Development Committee, which has oversight over issues related to Lunken Airport, explains why the vote was taken.

Presently there are two major studies under way; one is the master plan and the other is the noise abatement study. These studies have been under way for several months. In recent weeks it became apparent that four contentious issues surfaced and began to undermine the planning process. These included the addition of scheduled passenger service, runway length, weight-bearing capacity and noise mitigation. Until clear direction was given on these topics, the process in place was stalled.

After receiving the input and recommendations of various individuals on City Council, neighborhood leaders, airport users, the city administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Lunken Airport Oversight Advisory Board, conclusions were reached on these issues. More important, we were able to broker an agreement that I feel everyone, from airport user to airport neighbor, can accept. What we discovered is that folks on all sides of the Lunken issue want a safe, quiet airport that serves as an asset to the entire community, and that is what this compromise represents.

This legislation does not support or encourage the addition of scheduled passenger service; it maintains high safety standards at the airport; it protects our ability to receive adequate funding; and it promotes Lunken Airport as a premier corporate facility.

We have asked for a detailed report from city administration on how it will implement these policies and keep us informed every step of the way, thus reaffirming the community's ability to remain involved in the process.

This is just the beginning. The compromise offers a solid starting point and provides clear direction to the planning process.

Do you know of a vote or statement made by a public official that you'd like him or her to explain? Make a suggestion, and we'll ask. Send ideas to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; phone (513) 768-8525.

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