Hearing Tuesday for airport environmental study results

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Supporters and opponents of a new general aviation airport in the Tasso area can express their opinions to the Federal Aviation Administration next week.

On Friday, consultant Mark Paslick told members of the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority how the hearing will be conducted.

"We are trying to give everybody an opportunity to get as much information as possible and make comments without being influenced by anyone," Mr. Paslick said.

Participants will sign in and get an information sheet. A 10-minute computer video will be shown every 30 minutes and visitors can study environmental, historical and other information and question experts. They can give comments to a court reporter on site or file them within 10 days.

The airport authority hired Mr. Paslick's firm, PDC Consultants, to guide the city as it seeks to build a new airport with a 5,500-foot runway to serve local industries and private pilots .

"This airport provides much more safety than what you have now," he told the authority.

To do nothing, he said, only leaves the safety issues at the existing Hardwick Field unresolved.

Authority Chairwoman Lynn DeVault said the consultants and state officials have said the city has met all the requirements for announcing the public hearing that is a part of the environmental impact study.

"It would be foolish not to expect some opposition," she said, concerning Tuesday's hearing. An earlier lawsuit that claimed insufficient public notice about rezoning the site was dismissed, records show.

A previous lawsuit against the Airport Authority, claiming insufficient public notice about rezoning the site, was dismissed earlier this year in a local court.

Mr. Paslick said only comments filed with the court reporter will be presented to the FAA.

The environmental report is available at the Cleveland Public Library, the City Manager's Office and the Chamber of Commerce but will be removed 10 days after the hearing.

E-mail Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com