Written by William Doucette, Umstead Coalition Member
RDU continues to spread inaccurate information regarding the FAA's position about sales of non-aviation surplus property and requiring exploitation of the land.
Falsehood 1: FAA regulations prohibit RDU from selling land
According to Elliot Black, Director FAA Office of Airport Planning, FAA grant obligations and rules do not prohibit the sale of land for non-aeronautical purposes*. In fact the FAA has a review process for land sales with provisions that sale price is “fair market value” and the proceeds be used for airport purposes.
Falsehood 2: FAA’s “financial self-sufficiency policy” requires RDU to use its non-aeronautical land such as the Odd Fellows tract to generate revenue for airport operations
Director Black stated that the FAA “self-sufficiency policy” does not require land unneeded for aeronautical purposes (non-aeronautical land) be used for revenue generation.* Furthermore the FAA cannot require RDU to generate revenue from non-aeronautical land to satisfy its grant obligations including the financial self-sufficiency policy (assurance 24) .
Falsehood 3: FAA approved the quarry when it approved the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) November 20, 2017**
In fact the referenced FAA letter was only conditional approval with the following stipulations:
“This determination does not constitute FAA approval or disapproval of the physical development involved in the proposal. The determination was made with respect to the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft as well as the safety of persons and property on the ground.”
The letter does not mention the quarry or non-aeronautical land uses. RDU deceives the public with any claim that FAA has specifically approved a quarry on RDU land. FAA has by this letter simply stated an opinion that the ALP with a quarry as proposed does not appear to adversely affect the safe and efficient operation aircraft or safety of people and property on the ground related to aircraft operations. This opinion was repeated in the April 29,2019 from Steven Hicks Director Office of Airports Southern Region***.
* Letter from Elliot Black, Director, Office of Airport Planning 800 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington DC to William H Doucette Jr. Umstead Coalition, dated September 11, 2017
** Letter from L. Bernard Green, CM, AICP, Airport Planner, FAA Memphis District Office 2600 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Ste. 2250 Memphis, TN 38118, dated November 20, 2017
*** Letter from Steven Hicks Director, FAA Office of Airports Southern Region, 1701 Columbia Ave. College Park, GA 30337 dated April 29,2019
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