The Louisville Regional Airport Authority has unanimously approved the new Bowman Field Airport Layout Plan, which includes a new safety program. In order to comply with new Federal Aviation Administration rules, the authority may have to trim or remove trees on private property near the airport.
Authority Executive Director Skip Miller says there aren’t very many options.
“If we want to continue to operate the airport the way it’s been operated for the last 30 years and be able to accommodate instrument landing conditions for aircraft arriving and departing, we have to meet the new standards,” he said. “That’s not a choice.”
He said the authority could decide to cut operations at the field and not allow planes to land in adverse weather conditions, but the board is interested in maintaining the status quo. But at this point, no one is sure how many structures will be affected.
“We don’t know exactly how many trees or how many obstructions it will be,” Miller said. “That’s what we want to find out. We think it’s best for everybody concerned to know exactly what the impact will be. So we want to start that analysis.”
Homeowners in neighborhoods like Kingsley and Seneca Gardens are worried losing mature trees will lower property values and environmental benefits. The Authority’s plan includes funding to replace each of the removed trees with two smaller varieties, as well as additional money for landscaping.
The first step in the process is assembling a committee to hire consultants to complete a survey of the neighborhood. A neighborhood resident will be included in that process, Miller said. Tree removal could begin as early as next winter.