Expansion plan drawing critics of noise at Middleton airport

Aug. 23--MIDDLETON -- Two years after an expansion at the city 's airport that included a longer runway, a new terminal building and new hangars, officials are talking about another expansion, a prospect that has neighbors worried. Officials are...

Need for more hangars

While a recent hearing on the expansion plans drew more than three dozen area residents, Arnold said the types of projects envisioned are "generally appropriate. "

The airport 's 39 hangars have a waiting list, Opitz said. And the airport 's operating revenue comes from usage fees and hangar leases, not general taxes. The current hangars have fixed leases, yet the airport 's costs continue to rise.

"Of course if you provide more hangars you increase traffic there to some degree, " Arnold said.

Officials also want to buy nearby land or secure easements in an effort to reduce complaints from neighbors, Morey said.

Arnold said the Middleton airport and nearby Dane County Regional Airport in Madison have "very different uses and needs. The overlap between the two uses they serve is pretty small. There isn 't anything that Middleton is proposing that would create any sort of impact on the Dane County airport, I believe. "

Sharyn Wisniewski, marketing and communications manager at the Dane County airport, declined to comment on the proposed expansion, saying only that officials there see growth at the Middleton airport as "a local issue. "

Door is open

There 's no time line for completing the expansion, which Morey said is "an open-ended wish list. "

But Teal said he expects the plan to be adopted. "We have to increase revenues so my expectation is we would move forward with the additional hangar space, " he said. "To alleviate the noise, one way to do that is the additional runway and I expect we 'll move forward with that. "

Ninety-five percent of the cost of the plan would come from aviation user fees, with 2.5 percent from the state and 2.5 percent from Middleton, Opitz said.

For his part, Morey said he encourages residents to continue to report noise problems and to "come in and listen to what we 're doing. "

"The door is open any time people want to come in, " he said. "I 'm more than happy to try to get the word out. "

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