Influential Broward business leaders push for runway expansion
A group representing some of Broward County's most influential business leaders is pushing for approval of a controversial airport runway expansion plan as it heads for a key vote.
The Broward Workshop urges supporters to call, e-mail and write county commissioners in hopes they will vote to expand the south runway at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from 5,600 to 8,000 feet and widen it from 100 to 150 feet. That has been the commission's favored option. The organization's 100-plus members include H. Wayne Huizenga, of AutoNation; Terry Stiles, of Stiles Corp.; and George Platt, a well-known lawyer-lobbyist. "We encourage people and businesses from the community to get involved, be educated on the issue and ask county commissioners to make the right decision," said Kareen Boutros, Broward Workshop's executive director. "The airport is the single most important economic engine that serves Broward County."
County commissioners are expected to vote May 8 to select a plan and approve procedures for helping homeowners who would be affected by the expansion. The vote will follow a series of public meetings on the project that began last month and continue through May 1. Once commissioners decide on a plan, they must hire a contractor for the project, which could take years to complete. Commissioners also would have to pay 477 to 1,051 property owners to soundproof their homes or relocate.
Opponents say a south runway expansion would affect some 13,000 people in eastern Davie and Dania Beach's Melaleuca Gardens' neighborhood. "It's going to have some serious and adverse impacts on residents," said Dania Beach Mayor Bob Anton. Davie Councilwoman Susan Starkey, who has been critical of the county's initiative, said, "Noise, pollution and quality of life are the big issues today." Anton, who is asking residents to speak up at the meetings preceding the May 8 vote, said Dania would consider legal action if Broward County approves the runway expansion.
I can see it now...
First it was years and years of planning, town hall meetings, and workshops. Now it's going to be years and years of injunctions, legal roadblocks, and court system bottlenecks.