From: Larry Foster [email@example.com], Saturday, June 02, 2012: Dear Concerned Citizens: At its May 22 Zoning Board meeting, the DeKalb County Commissioners voted to withdraw (without prejudice) the proposed land-use change for the area south of PDK Airport. Withdrawal without prejudice means that a measure can be brought back for consideration at any time in the future.
The area that was being considered for a possible land-use change--with eventual rezoning and potential sale to follow--originally encompassed 14.98 acres located on the south side of the Airport by the fence on the March 2012 Board of Commissioners Agenda. By the time of the May 22 vote, however, the area in question had been approximately doubled to 27.08 acres, including the Medical Center property and the 57th Fighter restaurant property now owned by Pat Epps.
Both the March and May agendas included about 9 acres of PDK buyout land adjacent to the Airport fence that have been used for the past 12 years as a passive green-space noise buffer to help protect surrounding neighborhoods from damaging PDK Airport noise. That 9-acre area had been rezoned in 2000 by a previous Board of Commissioners as R-200 "Suburban" in order to insure that it would remain as a permanent green-space noise buffer.
We are pleased that the Commissioners voted on May 22 to withdraw the proposed land-use change for this area from further consideration at this time. We remain concerned, however, that some Commissioners appear to continue to harbor misconceptions about the PDK buyout property that might be used in the future to argue for the eventual sale of the PDK green-space noise buffer area. For example, in explaining his vote in favor of withdrawing the measure, Commissioner Rader at the May 22 Commission Zoning meeting nevertheless spoke about unspecified County "obligations" to the FAA regarding the PDK buyout land.
But as long as the County continues to preserve the PDK green-space buyout land as a passive noise buffer to protect surrounding neighborhoods from PDK noise, the County incurs no further financial obligations to the FAA regarding that buy-out land.
That point has been clearly documented in latest FAA regulations from March 2011, as well as in a letter from the FAA's regional director Scott Serritt dated March 13, 2012.
Those documents (attached again below for your reference) show that preserving buy-out land as a passive noise buffer is an "airport compatible" use that does NOT require any repayment to the FAA. Please make this point clear to your Commissioners if they continue to put forward the erroneous argument that they "must" sell the PDK buyout land to pay back the FAA because the FAA "requires" repayment, which it does not in this instance.
Finally, let me express my sincere personal gratitude to all of you who contacted your Commissioners to express your support (1) for preserving the PDK green-space noise buffer to help protect our neighborhoods from damaging PDK Airport noise and (2) for seeking greater County transparency in presenting its land-use and zoning proposals to the public. When this proposal first surfaced, it appeared to be a "done deal." Your vigorous expression of concern has made all the difference in securing this important withdrawal. Your continuing support will be crucial in the future, as well, if and when another version of this proposal surfaces once again.
Thanks so much for all your help.
PDK Watch Inc.
P.S. Here are the FAA documents: