Trees on private property near Fulton County Airport yed by FAA

‘Obstructions’ at airport removed, but FAA sets its sights on surrounding lands

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County officials have complied with a Federal Aviation Administration edict to remove certain tree obstructions at the County Airport, but the FAA wants more trees cut, this time on nearby private properties.

County Planning Director Scott Henze told the Board of Supervisors’ Public Works Committee Monday about the latest situation involving trees near the airport.

He said the FAA originally mandated certain trees be removed as sight obstructions and the county has been complying this summer.

“It’s pretty much clear right now,” Henze said.

In June, the FAA informed the county of tree obstructions at the County Highway 153 airport, on both ends of the runway, that needed to be removed. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution authorizing an agreement with Tim VanNostrand Logging Inc. to clear cut approximately 10 acres of timber at the Runway 10 end. The firm was allowed to cut an additional $20,000 worth of timber as compensation for performing the required work.

Henze said VanNostrand started its work on Aug. 16.

But the planing director told supervisors Monday that “unfortunately” the FAA has now identified several other tree obstructions at the nearby Fox Run Golf Club.

Henze said he met with county Highway Department staff and Rich Scott, club owner, to discuss removing obstructions on the club property. He said he contacted TSB Contracting, which quoted him $4,500 to do work on at least two trees with a crane.

“The flight line just clips these trees,” Henze said.

He said it was determined the Highway Department staff can remove the majority of obstructions, but the two will require a professional firm like TSB. He told the committee he can acquire additional quotes if needed.

Henze said additional obstructions will also need to be removed that are located on other private properties and he is contacting owners.

The FAA, which pays for the bulk of capital projects at the airport, has told the county the obstructions must be removed or the county jeopardizes its federal money coming in.

The Board of Supervisors in June authorized awarding a $719,607 construction bid from Baseline King Corp. of Barneveld for the rehabilitation of runway and taxiway lighting, and installation of a perimeter fencing project. A final application from Fulton County to the FAA indicates the total cost of the project to be $835,607. That figure includes the Baseline King bid, as well as $97,000 for project inspection and $19,000 in FAA flight check and administrative costs. The FAA is paying 90 percent of the cost, with Fulton County and the state Department of Transportation each kicking in 5 percent shares, or $41,780 each.

Henze said the FAA will eventually be doing a “flight check” on the runway and taxiway to ensure Fulton County has removed tree obstructions. If the county fails, he said the FAA will require the county pay for reinspection, which may cost $20,000.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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