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Expand the right airport

 

Recent bits and pieces in media hint that there is some renewed interest by Stevensville aimed at making their airport what it really should be, that is the best airport in the Bitterroot Valley. When North Star Aviation took over as the fixed base operator in Hamilton I really questioned the move because Stevi airport had so much more potential as a money maker.

It should be apparent to everyone that the FAA has been dillydallying for 15 years about expansion of the airport at Hamilton. By now everyone should realize that the FAA has always intended to locate an alternate airport for Missoula International Airport here in the Valley. The traffic at Missoula can be aimed at more revenue bearing seat sales and relegate small to medium freight flights to a nearby airport. Stevensville Airport fits the bill after expansion.

Hamilton airport was never a planned airport. It exists because it was there. It is built in a bowl on ground that has a history of high water levels, frost heave and surrounding terrain elevations that result in restricting flight operations. Probably the greatest unmentionable is what I suspect to be is the most serious threat to any expansion and even the very existence of the Hamilton Airport.

In recent years residents and anyone living or working in the vicinity of an airport have discovered the means to be heard and listened to, when they find the airport to be adversely affecting their quality of life and living standards. Common Law legal action is providing the general public with a tool to alter and stop all aircraft operation. This action called Reverse Condemnation could close the airport and cost the County millions in punitive damages. Apparently there are very powerful and nation-wide legal firms eager to pursue legal action in this field. The courts will, for sure, protect your quality of life when it is shown to be adversely affected by airport operations, especially in situations where expansion of an airport will attack the living standards of established residential communities.
One more thing. Pat Tucker really did a great service with her letter in the December 15 Ravalli Republic). Like I wrote some time ago, Suzy is chaos and now you observe what that meant. She and her lackeys should be locked out of the County Offices.
Earl Pollard
Hamilton

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