PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –
At a meeting held December 19, 2016, the Edgar County Airport Zoning Commission voted to recommend an Airport Zoning Ordinance to the Edgar County Board for their approval.
This, despite opposition from nearly every person attending the meeting, and a promise from the first zoning hearing that they would schedule another hearing after the draft ordinance was published. They did publish the draft ordinance, but never had another hearing.
The county’s need for zoning was brought to light when it was finally revealed that Edgar County had no zoning for its airport, and consequently could not receive any further federal or state funding for projects at the airport. Robert Bogue did his civic duty (as any good citizen should do) and filed a complaint with the FAA and IDOT, who did additional research and came to the same conclusion we did – that Edgar County was required to have zoning before receiving any more state or federal funds, due to potential violations of grant assurance for their past projects.
State and Federal law require their investments be protected and zoning is required according to grant assurances and state law.
If the county board approves this zoning ordinance, it will finally bring Edgar County in compliance with past grant assurance requirements, in compliance with the legal requirement to obtain funding, and will enable them to receive funding thru state and federal grants.
This Ordinance requires landowners within a certain radius of the airport to seek approval from Illinois Department of Transportation – Division of Aeronautics prior to making changes in building, land use, water use, producing smoke, and setting off fireworks, just to name a few of the required pre-authorizations.
The immediate project, which the board has been trying to accomplish for the past three years, involve an apron extension, moving the fuel farm, and installing a credit card reader for pilots to purchase fuel even when the airport office is closed. The only “real” need is for the credit card reader.
Past attempts at obtaining this grant have been halted by Illinois Department of Transportation – Division of Aeronautics, and the Federal Aviation Administration when they were informed of the alleged grant application fraud when the past airport manager, Jimmy Wells, assisted the Hanson Engineering firm in falsifying documents to somehow qualify for the grants.
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