Nearly two years ago, officials in Cobb County, Georgia purchased a shopping center at a cost of $5.75 million [taxpayer] dollars in hopes of converting the property into offices and a senior center. The local government officials planned on using federal dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist with construction of the senior center.
Since the new location had to be used to consolidate administrative offices for seniors, the county had planned to use revenues from the sale of properties where those offices and the existing senior day care center were located, to help defray the cost of purchasing the shopping center, according to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
However, an idiotic but little-noticed federal regulation has thrown a major monkey wrench into the County’s plans. Apparently, since the proposed center lies in the flight path of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the county is barred from using federal HUD funding for the project.
Pam Breeden, Cobb County’s Senior Services Director, explained to the Marietta Daily Journal that “[a]fter 9/11, the laws changed and they didn’t want to put anyone in danger.” County officials assumed that the property would be grandfathered in since the shopping center had existed for nearly 25 years.
Two factors jump out at the observer of this incident. First of all, is the unbelievably silly restriction on the use of HUD monies — that they cannot be used to construct or renovate a building that lies in the flight path of an airport. The government apparently is worried that such a structure might become a target for terrorists because it is in a flight path! This appears to be a conclusion reached by some government bureaucrats watching a tape of the two hijacked jetliners being flown into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. Obviously, someone forgot to tell the Brainiacs who concocted this regulation that the Twin Towers were not in the flight path of an airport. They obviously also were under the impression that only buildings in the flight path of an airport could be potential targets for a hijacker!
The other distressing conclusion one is left with after learning of this latest example of government bungling is that one level of government does not communicate well with another level of government. The right hand clearly knows not what the left hand is doing. The blind leading the blind.
-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code