The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!

Public fears come true

09/01/2019 8:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment

“In February 1972, the FAA authorized updating the airport’s 1970 master plan to provide additional information on the new runway configuration. Simultaneously, a public hearing was conducted on rezoning of lands surrounding the airport. The Alternate B runway design required rezoning of approximately 2,000 acres in Wake County and several hundred acres in Durham County to be rezoned from residential to airport district. Some home owners in the area organized in a group known as Airport Involved Residents (AIR) to oppose rezoning. However, this was countered by strong public and media support for the action. Airport rezoning was approved by the Wake County Board of Commissioners in February 1972.” Source: Section II, page 10, 1977 Federal Environmental Impact Statement.

“Newspaper reports indicate that objections of residents in the vicinity of the Airport were not focused on displacement but on airport zoning which opened residential areas to commercial or industrial use.” Editorial “Airport Zoning Changes Help” Raleigh TimesFebruary 21, 1972.

In March 1977, the previously mentioned report on the environmental impact of the proposed airport expansion was released, and in it, the Odd Fellows Tract was specifically mentioned under this section: Environmental Impact Statement Section III: Public Lands The following quote is from Page 19 under the subsection: “Other Public Lands/Historical and Archeological Sites”

“A recreation area under the jurisdiction of the Odd Fellows Club of Raleigh is located adjacent to the proposed project site, south of Umstead State Park and west of Crabtree Creek. The area contains a picnic shelter and a small lake, and is used for monthly club activities. This recreation facility will not be adversely affected by airport expansion.”

The Environmental Impact Statement also refers to the 1962 amendment to the Wake County zoning ordinance. In 1962, the Wake County Board of Commissioners adopted an addition to the county zoning ordinances with the establishment of airport districts.

“These districts were created to protect the airport from urban development encroachment and for protection of persons and property within the airport environment. The Airport District zoning is presently in effect for the runways now in use at Raleigh-Durham Airport, and has been extended partially for the Alternate B configuration. The ordinance prohibits residential uses of the land other than farm residences. Commercial, industrial, recreational and agricultural land uses are permitted within these zones provided there are no places of public assembly such as schools, churches, theaters and stadia. The districts extend 2.8 miles from the end of each runway.”

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