June 12, 2013


County to clear airport obstacles

2 lots would be combined with airport to accommodate runway zone

AirportBob Ellis/staff photographer
A Cessna 150 is refueled at the Cortland County Airport in this file photo. The county has developed a plan to clear remaining obstructions near the airport’s runway.

Staff Reporter

Cortland County has proposed ways to clear remaining obstructions near its airport runway.
The county would combine two lots with the airport property and take part of Fer Cor Drive, relocating a fence and a turnaround section of road.
The Highway Committee on Tuesday authorized Airport Manager Bob Buerkle to proceed with the plans, which still need approval at various levels.
Cortlandville Town Board approval is needed to cede the road to the county and Federal Aviation Administration grant funding is needed to cover the project.
The full Legislature would also have to approve the county granting an easement to the town of Cortlandville for a turnaround area for snowplows on land in front of one of the lots that would be incorporated into the airport property.
Buerkle explained the county already owns the lots, having purchased them in 2009 to demolish structures on them in 2010 as part of the runway obstruction mitigation project at the airport. The lots are at the end of Fer Cor Drive. Buerkle said the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year asked the county to relocate a fence out of the protected zone on one of the lots.
Buerkle explained that although the county owns the lots, they are still assessed as building lots because they were formerly owned by residents. It would make more sense to combine them with the airport property since they will never be built on, he said.
The fence will be moved to encompass the two lots. It will be placed on county property about 10 feet from the abutting residential properties.
It will be a chain link fence with no barbed wire, he said.
Since the portion of Fer Cor Drive accesses only those lots that are now county property, it makes sense for the town to give that road over to the county, he said.
“They would abandon that land to the county, no longer have their road on it. It makes no sense to maintain and spend money on a section of road that ... access is not needed to other lots,” Buerkle said.
Cortlandville Town Supervisor Dick Tupper said the town would only be concerned with having a suitable turnaround point for snowplows. The town abandons roads that are not used to save on the cost of maintaining them, he said.
“It doesn’t appear it would have serious expense or consequence to us so we would certainly take probably a positive look at it,” Tupper said.
Since a turnaround section for snow plows exists in the protected zone and on county-owned land, Buerkle said the turnaround would simply be moved to another section of Fer Cor Drive out of the protected zone.
If the Cortlandville Town Board approves the plans, Buerkle said the next step would be to get an estimate on the cost of the work and approach the FAA for a grant to cover the project.
There is a 5 percent local share on projects covered by the FAA, money which Buerkle said is already provided for in the airport budget. The FAA covers 90 percent of the work and the state matches the local share at 5 percent.
Buerkle said the work would be done by the end of the year.


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