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Newstead board moves forward on proposed airport expansion

The Newstead Town Board on Monday asked the town attorney to draft a resolution addressing minor clarifications in an environmental review document on Akron Airport.

Meeting in a work session, the board noted that comments received during a 30-day comment period on its conditional negative declaration of the environmental impact of the airport's planned renovations and expansion did not raise any new issues.

Town Attorney Nathan Neill said he believes no changes are needed in the document, which the board passed in late July. But he acknowledged that a resolution addressing "clarifications" of some language -- including "flooding" and "drainage" -- should be acted on at the board's Sept. 12 meeting.

Adoption of the environmental document -- in which the board spelled out several conditions regarding things like drainage, noise and safety -- was required before the Zoning Board of Appeals can act on a variance needed for the work.

The Christian Airmen, owners and operators of the private airport off Scotland Road, plan several improvements, including a new maintenance hangar and paving of a grass crosswinds runway. A number of Akron/Newstead residents oppose the plans; many of their reasons were addressed in the declaration's conditions.

If the Zoning Board approves the variance, a site plan still must pass both the Planning and Town boards.

In a related airport matter, Carl Klingenschmitt, chairman of the town Conservation Advisory Committee, which helped the town come up with the declaration's conditions, suggested that a complaint form be drafted to be used in consultations with compliance officers for the Federal Aviation Administration.

He stressed that a complaint form on a specific aircraft would need to include details such as a physical description and, if possible, registration numbers.

Supervisor David Cummings asked Klingenschmitt to draft such a form for the board's consideration.

In other business, the board heard Klingenschmitt report that the Murder Creek Slope Enhancement Project is "coming along well. We're ahead of schedule, and the budget looks good."

Akron and Newstead received mitigation funding from the state and federal government to install a pinioned rock wall at the base of the slope behind the Main Street retail district and across Murder Creek from homes along Brooklyn Street.

Klingenschmitt said the rock work will be completed this week. New vegetation will be planted next month to stem erosion of the slope, which lost trees and other plants during the October 2006 snowstorm.

The board also asked questions of Justices Dennis Freeman and Richard Campbell on their 2012 budget requests for Town Court.

Councilwoman Cheryl Esposito asked that Court Clerk Sandy Pietrowski submit in writing details on her workload that can be used while considering a possible raise and increase in hours.

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