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Airport Commissioner Canned By Scottsdale, AZ City Council

Close Vote Removes John Washington From Advisory Panel

The Scottsdale, AZ, City council has voted 4-3 to remove John Washington from the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission. Washington had reportedly sent a letter to the FAA which questioned the council's vote to allow an apartment complex to be built near Scottsdale Airport (KSDL).

The council had voted 6-1 last month to approve zoning changes allowing a 240-unit apartment building less than a mile from the airport runway. Washington sent a letter to the FAA which some saw as lodging a complaint about the zoning change to federal authorities, but which councilwoman Lisa Borosky, who voted against Washington's removal, told the Arizona Republic was "an inquiry, stating facts and ... asking for clarification."

Mayor Jim Lane had asked Washington to voluntarily resign after he wrote the letter, but the commissioner refused. After the vote, he said he had the best interests of the city and the airport in mind, and "I did what I felt like I needed to do."

The paper reports that, in its written response, the FAA does not suggest any federal intervention into the council's business. But FAA compliance specialist Anthony Garcia said that the influx of new housing units and people near the airport could lead to the eventual imposition of noise mitigation measures which "can have a detrimental impact on the airport's utility."

In all, three apartment complexes had been proposed near KSDL. The airport commission has recommended that none be approved because residents moving in would almost certainly start complaining about airport noise. The city planning commission had recommended approval of all three projects.

Since the first vote, the council has approved a second apartment building near the airport, and has delayed consideration of the third.

FMI: www.scottsdaleaz.gov/council

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