Noise Resolution Backed by Port Authority
In what can only be music to the ears of islanders plagued by years of excessive airplane noise, the Lee County Port Authority passed a resolution at a public hearing held this morning that agrees with the recommendations made by an independent group of residents and the Fort Myers Beach Town Council - who passed a resolution in support at their last meeting just a week ago. The hearing also saw former Beach Mayor and recently elected county commissioner Larry Kiker appointed as Vice-Chair of the Port Authority and the other new commissioner - Cecil Pendergrass - sworn in as Chair.
"Councilwoman Jo List read the resolution into the record, then a number of people spoke, and then the Port Authority accepted it and agreed to send their recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),” said Vice-Mayor Alan Mandel, who has been working with the citizens’ group - which includes former Councilman Tom Babcock and former Mayor Dan Hughes - and airport officials for the last several months on this issue that the council first turned its attention to when Kiker was still Mayor.
"I want to thank Larry and everyone on the Port Authority for working with us on this resolution,” he said, adding that the action also accepts all previous resolutions passed by council into the official record and includes the current council’s recommendations that all future waypoints be kept at or above 3,000 feet. "Parts of this resolution are already being implemented by the airport and various airlines, and we seem to have the support we need to move forward.”
The recommendations go next to the Federal Aviation Administration for review and possible affirmation or denial, a process that could take up to 180 days.
List credited the hard work of the citizens’ group, Mandel and Kiker for getting the issue to this point.
"It remains to be seen if the FAA will now adopt these ideas and bring them forward,” she said. "It’s amazing all the work that’s been put into this by these folks - it certainly helps that the local officials now support it.”
Kiker told us that the important thing to realize is that this is only the first step and what will be an ongoing effort.
"This isn’t a short-term vision to be followed by a long-term vision - it’s a first step to be followed by the next step,” he said. "The first step is ‘let’s get through this’ and now we move forward.”
The county commissioner went on to say how proud he is of the work that’s been done by his former co-councilmembers.
"This is the way Town Council has worked since I’ve been there - a group effort ends up with a great result,” he said. "The presentation by Jo was spot on, and I know that (Port Authority Director) Bob Ball has been very complimentary of the work that Alan has been doing.”
"I appreciate all the work that everyone has done on this.”
Keri Hendry Weeg