PARIS, IL. (ECWd) -
We received tips that the Edgar County Airport Zoning Commission did not provide a draft copy of the airport zoning policy they were proposing to pass in advance of the meeting.
Without the proposed ordinance being provided in advance, nobody knew which questions to ask or comments to make as there was no time to review what was provided at the hearing.
I provided public comment asking for another hearing after providing copies of the proposed ordinance, as did at least two others.
According to the posted agenda, the board had intended to approve their zoning ordinance recommendation for the county board to approve the ordinance at their next county board meeting, held 2 days after this hearing.
That would have prevented citizens from voicing their opinions in the proposed zoning ordinance. How can anyone ask intelligent questions without knowing what the board is actually wanting to approve?
The board agreed to call another hearing in the future – and give residents 15 days to research the proposed ordinance prior to the hearing.
According to an IDOT letter dated June 25, 2007, which "conditionally" approves the "Airport Layout Plan", it specifically states "It should be noted that the FAA cannot prevent erection of any structure near an airport" (bottom of page 1) and that they can only be restricted thru State Zoning Regulations (which mandates local zoning) and/or local zoning ordinances. It appears the federal regulations referenced by the commission were adopted in 1974, prior to this letter.
This is contrary to what the zoning commission told citizens during the hearing - that county zoning would do nothing the FAA is not currently doing, which is false, since county zoning will restrict heights and prevent the erection of structures, according to law, that the FAA does not have the power to restrict/prevent.
At 2:47 and 6:40 in the below video, the commission references FAA "guidelines", which according to IDOT, the FAA has no authority to restrict structures near airports.
This zoning issue for the Edgar County Airport is a result of several years of FAA and IDOT – Division of Aeronautics halting federal grants. The first was due to alleged grant fraud on the grant application presented to IDOT which has obvious false statements, including, more based aircraft than were actually based here, saying they only have a one thousand gallon fuel tank when they actually had a ten thousand gallon tank, and many other inconsistencies.
This most recent grant was pulled because state law requires a county to zone the land for airport purposes prior to any expansion of the airport – which Edgar County failed to do for their runway extension and cross-wind runway. The FAA and IDOT consider this a violation of grant assurances from previous grants and halted any new funding until the airport comes into compliance with state law.
Additionally, from the zoning commission’s previous meeting, it was stated by the local bird cage liner that IDOT said “more than half of county sponsored (owned) airports do not have zoning. This statement was proven to be false by the Edgar County Watchdogs who researched each and every county-owned airport and discovered, for a second time, that Edgar County was the only county-owned airport in Illinois who did not have zoning in place.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.