Glide path needs clear discussion

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2009

There is little doubt to the importance of the Chilton County Airport. Its presence is a huge recruiting tool for potential industries and offers a recreational source for many area pilots.

But, the rules, regulations and guidelines that work to manage the airport are often confusing.

Case in point was Tuesday’s public hearing about a rezoning request of a property owner near the airport.

For years, this owner assumed his property was zoned residential. It wasn’t. When he discovered it was zoned manufacturing he did the right thing by asking it be rezoned, making everything — including the much-dreaded paperwork — legal.

Lanis Robinson has no intention of building a manufacturing facility on his property; he instead wishes to complete a multi-year project to build a family home. Five years into it — and countless thousands of dollars later — he discovers this glitch.

But, because his property apparently lies within the airport’s glide path, the airport authority and the Chilton County Commission are opposing his rezoning request.

Adding to the confusion is Robinson’s assertion that authority members told him years ago his property was not in the glide path.

For the authority, safety is paramount — not just for the pilots and passengers of approaching and departing planes but also those on the ground — but confusion only breeds problems.

If Robinson’s property lies within the glide path, then the authority and commission should do the right thing and make it right with Robinson. They should also work to inform every landowner in the path to prevent further problems.