Support or oppose Gwinnett airport expansion?

Which side on you on? And why?

Supporters say turning over Gwinnett’s airport to a private operator to add commercial flights could boost the local economy at an opportune time, AJC reporter David Wickert writes. It could also provide an alternative to Hartsfield.

But many Gwinnett residents oppose the move. They cite the added noise, traffic congestion and declining real estate values that would affect the surrounding communities, Wickert reports.

Where do you stand?

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80 comments Add your comment

Walter

June 21st, 2010
7:13 am

I fully support the expansion and did the last time around too. A great example to look at is Stewart Airport in Newburgh NY. This serves the Hudson Valley area with flights and is a great alternative to heading down to NYC. The people who live near the airport know th quality of life they bought into. When you live near an airport there’s always the possibility of it being expanded. You need to look at the benefits to then entire region vs the complaints of the few. That’s a very commercial corridor along 316 and seems perfectly suited for an expanded commercial airport. The interchange of GA20 and 316 will have to be improved but that can be paid for by the new airport owners. I don’t see anything but a win for Gwinnett with an expanded airport.

Jeff

June 21st, 2010
8:01 am

My experience with these “protesters” are that they are also the ones who expect to be able to pick any flight at any time of day to go to their latest trendy vacation spot. They want the convenience that an airport provides, the accolades of being a protester for the community, but none of the side effects. But hey, that’s just my experience.

Paul

June 21st, 2010
8:13 am

For the greater good of the county (equating to an old friend of Charles Bannister’s that owns the property) the Catholic Church in Norcross has had an attempted robbery of their (and the neighborhood’s) lifestyle, in the form of a trash transfer station right next door (a spot rezoning did the trick). The airport isn’t any different, whatever the government tells us, so saith the Bannister Bunch.

ITS JUST ME

June 21st, 2010
8:22 am

I think its good. Atlanta is a busy town and we need more then one airport to support the travel industry. This will bring jobs and good paying ones at that. I used to live in Houston where we had Intercontental to the north and Hobby in the center. It did wonders for the city to have to outbound areas for airports. I think its a good idea to bring another major airport to the north of Atlanta.

Jon

June 21st, 2010
8:28 am

C’mon, NIMBYs, your property values are already tanked, this can’t make it any worse.

Meme

June 21st, 2010
8:35 am

Go for it! I live in some of the condo’s close by and would love the increase in property value.

Airport Supporter

June 21st, 2010
8:36 am

I fully support the exapansion. I live near the airport and am not that concerned about the noise, especially if it is only 20 commercial flights a day. Additionally, a good example of a great small airport is the Canton-Akron Airport in Canton, Ohio. This airport is small, yet it provides daily non-stop flights to places such as Atlanta, Orlando, and other vacation destinations. Delta and Airtran are the largest carriers at the airport. It is a huge convenience when traveling to that part of the state. If anyone has read the website about privatization, they would read that the larger planes are actually quieter than many of the small planes. I have done my research and fully support this plan. It would bring in much needed revenue for the county as well as provide a great service and convenience to travelers who do not want/need to go to Atlanta to catch a flight.

Scott

June 21st, 2010
8:50 am

Comparing a possible airport expansion in Gwinnett county to the oil spill in the Gulf is incredibly stupid. How can the destruction of our gulf ecosystem and the deaths of untold numbers of animals compare? You bought near an airport – expansion at some point is the natural outcome in a growing area.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
9:10 am

I do not support the expansion at all. I live about two miles north of the airport. When I purchased my home in 1992 I specifically contacted the folks at Briscoe about the possibility of expansion and was told they were a “little country airport and would never expand.”

In allowing the expansion of Briscoe Field officials would essentially be rendering useless Dacula Elementary, Dacula Middle School, Dacula High School, Central Gwinnett High School, Dyer Elementary, Lawrenceville Elementary and the new school currently being finished on Highway 29. All of these schools are so close to the airport and right under the flight patterns that it would be senseless to try to carry on with instruction with jets flying right over the rooftops.

Also at stake is Gwinnett Medical Center. I don’t think being about a mile and a half mile from the end of the runway would be a good place for folks to try to recuperate.

With all of that being said, I would be willing to sell my home to the folks that want to privatize Briscoe Field so I could leave the area. Bloggers above who suggest that we sacrifice our homes and property values for the “common good of the community” just so others don’t have to drive to Hartsfield really need to look in the mirror.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
9:19 am

@Meme..

Property values increased??? Take a ride down to Clayton County and look around the community that used to be Mountain View. (It’s no longer there. The FAA had to buy and destroy every home)Take a ride to Peachtree Dekalb and look at the property within a mile or two of the airport.

Airports create a dead zone of about 4 to 5 miles around them. Only businesses or industry can put up with the noise, pollution, traffic and horrific standard of living they cause.

My family lived about 6 miles east of Hartsfield in the 1970’s. I could not wait to get out of the area once I was old enough. You would think you could get used to not hearing the television every few minutes, the ear splitting sound kids are subjected to when playing outside, the walls rattling several times a day….but you would be wrong.

Just take a drive down to Conley, Forest Park, Mountain View or Hapeville. Are you really sure you support that happening to Lawrenceville, Dacula and Grayson?

Vince

June 21st, 2010
9:22 am

@ Walter, Jon, It’s Just Me, and Jeff…

So I assume you would be perfectly okay if an airport was built at the end of your street?

Brian

June 21st, 2010
9:24 am

Enter your comments here

Robert

June 21st, 2010
9:25 am

Expand PDK instead or find a better location. I FULLY OPPOSE THIS DECISION. Which elected official is selling their land for this expansion? That is what this story is really about.

Brian

June 21st, 2010
9:28 am

IF you do not want to drive to Hartsfield, then drive to the Athens airport, they already allow commercial flights. The only people for this expansion are the ones that will make $$$, this is a bad deal for the regular people of Lawrenceville and Dacula area. I have not spoken to a single person in favor of this expansion, why dont they conduct these polls whose lives would be impacted the most.

Jim

June 21st, 2010
9:29 am

Moved here in 94 and I heard the same thing. A little county airport is all it was. I live 4.5 miles from there in Richland which is a excellend community once referred to as the golden triangle area.
Home values are poor why make it worse? My daughter is going to GGC college at 316/collins hill road. How can 737s flying over head be good for the expansion and desire of wanting to go to the college? I am sure it would not have been built if the airport was private and flying 737s in and out of there. You will end up with another college park. There is already low income housing in that area by the airport. it will just expand. SAY NO. MAke another airport further out somewhere away from populated areas.

George

June 21st, 2010
9:30 am

The County has already made up its mind. Their comment about reviewing the impact after they get the proposals (which they will be in a hurry to pick and go on contract with) shows their mind set. Anyone within a 10-12 mile radius of the airport can and probably will be affected with higher noise and a poorer standard of living. Anyone who says this is not true is not looking at the examples of communities that had airports grow next door to them. This is a horrible decision and a continued example of the Shag Cates mentalllity of the Gwinnett Commissioners!

Mike

June 21st, 2010
9:34 am

These airport protesters remind me of the folks at PDK watch over at Dekalb P’tree airport area. In both cases their arguments are laughable and don’t have a leg to stand on here. I’m sorry, but when you choose to buy a home near an airport (especially one in a rapidly growing area), anyone with an IQ of 75 or more should realize that the airport might indeed expand in the coming years. That would be akin to buying a house next to a busy interstate and then complaining when the DOT discusses adding additional lanes.

Besides, aircraft are quieter than ever, especially jet aircraft. I’m certain that noise pollution has decreased in the area even with additional traffic in recent years.

Metro

June 21st, 2010
9:35 am

First its minority majority status and now airport expansion: the final nails in the coffin for Gwinnett County.

Jim West

June 21st, 2010
9:35 am

The Atlanta area, and North Georgia, seriously needs a second airport.
The Atlanta Airport is congested and huge, making flying stressful.
A second regional airport would take pressure off of future growth of the Atlanta Airport, and would be extremely popular. The Atlanta City government does not want any competition to the Atlanta Airport, and will do anything possible to kill development of a competiting regional airport. In my opinion, people around Atlanta seriously want an alternative to the huge Atlanta Airport Airport. Even driving to Birmingham is an attractive alternative to fighting crowds at the Atlanta Airport.

Glenn Beck

June 21st, 2010
9:49 am

I am for the expansion because I don’t like the whining bed-wetting liberal protestors and Gwinnett is already a pile of dump.

Atlanta Region Pragmatist

June 21st, 2010
9:55 am

Once again, we in the Atlanta Region have a government entity that is using buzzwords such as privatization to avoid the real issues facing its community, such as higher-paying jobs and meaningful development that is sustainable over the long-term.

For a cash-strapped county government, like Gwinnett County, it may be that the purported stream of income assumed by expanding/leasing/privatizing the Gwinnett General Aviation Airport seems like a sure thing. However, like other “deals” we have seen over the years in the region, the law of unanticipated consequences looms heavily.

Not only are the impacts from having a commerical air facility shoe-horned into a small general aviation airport to be considered, but also the possible impact that a potential default would have upon Gwinnett residents and taxpayers. In many cases, the public entity (in this case Gwinnett County) needs to guarantee uninterrupted operations if the private operator defaults on a privatization arrangement.

More generally, the issues are: Is this the right place for commercial jet service? AND Is this really a true economic development strategy?

In terms of location, the Gwinnett General Aviation Airport is effectively landlocked between Georgia Highway 316 and US Highway 29, and is very close to densely populated areas.

In terms of economic development, gutting a significant portion of Central Gwinnett County doesn’t appear to have conducive long-term effects just to add commercial air service found readily at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Unfortunately for Clayton County, the impact of Hartsfield-Jackson was felt countywide — not just in some perceived corridor. The lesson of these countywide impacts may be something Gwinnett and its residents examine closely.

In short, it appears we have a cash-hungry local government that wants to flip a facility to a company that will expand and commercialize that facility. Haven’t we learned enough already about flipping in this region? We need to focus on what will make us a desirable place to live and work on a sustainable basis into the future — not just generate quick cash without considering long-term consequences.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
10:08 am

@Mike….

I am willing to bet there is an airport within 5 miles of your house where small single engine planes can take off and land. You may not even be aware of it because it is so small.

You would be perfectly happy to suddenly have commercial jets flying just a couple fo hundred feet over your house?

Jason

June 21st, 2010
10:29 am

Like it not airplane noise makes money. An airport generates a large amount of revenue for the surrounding counties. It is a shame that people would complain about the noise from aircraft. They made the conscience decision to move near the airport. THE AIRPORT DID NOT MOVE TO THEM!!!! Plus being a pilot we can abide by noise abatement rules from the airport where as an aircraft will enter and exit over a less populated area. People that complain about an airport only have there own self interest in mind. Shame on them!

Mike

June 21st, 2010
10:37 am

Vince,

I am aware of it as I’m a private pilot, and utilize small fields often. I’ve flown in and out of Briscoe since the late 80’s, and even back then the airport has a great foundation in place (large runway, solid ILS, surrounding land for growth, etc) for further expansion. Simply put, Brisco wasn’t your typical small GA airport going back 25 years—everyone knew it would eventually become more of a regional airport that could handle jet aircraft. I certainly did as a teen during this period living roughly 7 miles away.

Mike

June 21st, 2010
10:41 am

…If I knew, as a dumb teenager at the time (late 80’s-early 90’s), that Briscoe was a continuing growing airport that would soon enough become a regional center; you’ll be hard pressed to convince me that some adult who bought there around the same time or later was completely ignorant to that fact. Like Jason said, they moved near the airport…the airport didn’t move to them. My interstate example from earlier applies perfectly here.

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
10:53 am

I spend a lot of time in that area, too much actually, and I don’t see much property value to speak of now. What will decline in value? Closed grocery stores? run down wal-mart supercenter? empty strip malls with weeds growing out of them? The houses that would be deemed uninhabitable if it were down here in the city? Wake up Gwinnett you are not living in the county you moved to in the early 90’s your opposition to things like this and the expansion of MARTA are so laughable to the rest of the region when your county is the largest enclave of illegal immigrants, and the fastest growing area of poverty in the southeastern United States. A perfect example of what this could be, look at Sanford Airport in the Orlando area. Atlanta is the most underserved metropolitan area when it comes to transportation and it stems from residents mostly in Gwinnett county clinging to some by gone idea of utopia. Believe what you want but come look at my quality of life, my commute, the streetscape of Peachtree Road, the amount of time I NEVER spend in traffic, and the number of times mine and my neighbors homes have NOT been broken in to and then go back and take a look at the intersection of GA-316 and 20 and tell me your quality of life is better, you may prefer it but it is not of better quality.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
10:56 am

@Mike…

So if a person, such as myself, bought near the airport 20 years ago..and called to talk to the folks at the airport before my purchase, about the traffic it catered to and any expansion plans….and was told, “We are just a little country airport. we won’t ever expand.”, I should be blamed for their lies?

I have no problem with the expansion as long as the county or the development group buys me out. Otherwise, either can expect a lengthy and expensive legal battle.

This would be akin to buying a home on a dirt road, calling to ask about development plans and being told there were none and then having the road turned into an interstate that ran by your bedroom window.

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
11:01 am

Vince you answered your own question you asked this TWENTY YEARS AGO. As much as some of the restless natives may resist…THINGS CHANGE, your know, like that race of majority in your county.

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
11:02 am

People don’t go to Gwinnett for a bette life anymore, they go there for cheap electronics and some killer Dim Sum.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
11:06 am

@Art Vandalay…

I work in your area and I can say without a doubt that my standard of living in north Lawrenceville is much better than yours. Our schools currently do the impossible: Students score way above the national average even though we are a majority/minority system. It is possible that homes in my neighborhood have been broken into…but I have never heard of it…not in 20 years. I can walk down my street without fear any hour of the day or night…and you know what? I actually appreciate the diversity brought in by our large number of Korean, Latino and Eastern European neighbors. Our schools, and superintendent, win national awards for excellence. Our park system may be the very best in the nation.

Have you ever driven to the north side of 316 in the area that would be under the flight patterns of these jets? You will find brand new shopping centers, restaurants, parks, schools and immaculately kept subdivisions.

Metro

June 21st, 2010
11:07 am

“The only people for this expansion are the ones that will make $$$”

Exactly! Anyone FOR expansion of Briscoe, even here in this blog, is in it for themselves. It is sad to see all the arrognat posts calling people that chose to live near this tony airport stupid.

“a good example of a great small airport is the Canton-Akron Airport in Canton, Ohio”

A good example, that’s a “good” laugh. The economy, expecially in that part of Ohio, is in the toilet.

Mike

June 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Yes, as you took some verbal guarantee of some airport employee to heart and made an important decision (where to buy a home) based on it. Unless you have something in writing from them in regard to this (and their culpability), you’re the sucker. Besides, again as a teenager at the time there taking flight lessons, everyone and their mom knew of Briscoe’s future growth…nobody make any bones about it and in fact Briscoe officials boasted about future plans; thus I seriously doubt such allegations. I’m guessing if anything was said, it was by the real estate agent who was trying to make the sale.

Anytime you’re dealing with anything involved in real estate, land, et al; if you don’t have a contract, deed, or at least something in writing…you’re to blame. I could be wrong, but I suspect you’re looking for an easy way out of your mortgage and the general dump of an area you live in (in terms of some sort of buyout.) Like Art said, the area has been in free fall for quite some time and an expanding airport is the least of your concerns.

I/my family saw what was coming and got out in ‘99, and haven’t looked back.

Common Sense

June 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Keeping Briscoe Field as it is, and developing another “commercial airport” further to the north would add even more additional revenues to the county.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
11:18 am

@ Art Vandalay…

…and we are fiercely proud of our killer dim sun…our wonderful Asian and Latino farmers’ markets, the interesting European cafes and restaurants in Lawrenceville, our plethora of temples and churches, and REAL Mexican restaurants. They make the stores and restaurants inside the perimeter sort of “ho hum.”

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
11:21 am

Believe what you want Vince but I have been all over this state including places with little economy to speak of in South Georgia and the intersection of GA-316 and Highway 20 is one of the most blighted looking areas in the entire state. Also there are plenty of new shopping centers, you are right, but they are still empty. And if you think areas around that part of Lawrenceville are more inviting than Peachtree Road in Buckhead then you are lieing. There are parts of Lawrenceville I will not stop in during the day, Highway 29 for example. Also, please if you like the diversity, which I do as well, but you know good and well that many in your area including many of those opposed to this airport are not as accepting as you, then what is the push back towards having MARTA in your area? It would be a huge asset to these neighbors whom you claim to welcome with open arms, many of whom can’t or don’t drive. This is not coming from a anti-Gwinnett mind set by any means, I love parts of Buford, Suwannee, Duluth, but from a trained eye Gwinnett is also home to some of the more blighted areas in our state, Highway 78 in Snellville, and that stretch of 316 in Lawrencevile, for example.

Mike

June 21st, 2010
11:30 am

Metro, sorry but that’s a tired, lame argument. I have no vested interest in Briscoe and, since I no longer fly in/out of there, couldn’t care less what happens to the place…they could turn it into an amusement park for all I care (though I always hate to see GA airports close) But facts are facts: people CHOSE to buy near a growing GA airport, and now those same people are complaining about expansion. When we bought ski property in Snowshoe, WV back in ‘01, it was a quiet getaway with no lift lines. Since then roughly 8 new condo developments have gone in near us and the crowds are often unbearable during many weekends. But we knew that might happen going in, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
11:32 am

@Mike…

It was an airport official…not an agent.

Here’s my concern: I grew up near Hartsfield. I know what an airport does to an area. I chose to move as far away from Hartsfield as I could while still being in the metro area. I checked with airport and county officials before buying. My home would still sell for considerably more now than its original price. For you to describe the area north of Lawrenceville as a dump is laughable. You’ve actually been to the Hamilton Mill and Dacula area??

My contention is the idea that it is okay to destroy people’s lives, their homes and their lifestyle without even an apology. At least with Hartsfield they ended up buying out the neighborhoods and razing the houses.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
11:39 am

@ Art Vandalay

No, I am not lying about prefering Gwinnett to Buckhead. I have never been to Buckhead when I didn’t get completely fed up with traffic…even on weekends. Whenever I am there I cannot wait to escape. I also dislike the phony/trendy/plastic feel of it.

Marta? Okay by me.

@Mike… One thing wrong with your argument: People did not choose to move near a “growing” airport. They chose to move near a small, country airport that did not allow commercial jets. HUGE difference.

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
11:39 am

Vince, Hamilton Mill and Dacula are not Lawrenceville, and also not close enough to have any sort of extreme effects from an airport expansion. Some of the most expensive areas in Orlando like Lake Nona are about that distance from OIA. Not to mention you don’t even know how the flight patterns will change.

Mike

June 21st, 2010
11:39 am

Vince,

I’m born (’73)/raised in Lawrenceville, and while the diversity of restaurants has improved, much of everything else has gone far downhill. Crime is much worse now, as is the traffic, schools, overall blight…I can go on and on. Heck, Compton has a diverse selection of restaurants too, but I certainly wouldn’t want to live/raise a family there. Its really sad what has happened to much of Gwinnett County, but all you can really do these days is keep outrunning it and continue to find solid places for your family to live.

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
11:45 am

Hamilton Mill Golf club is 11 miles from Briscoe Field, Thats 1 mile difference than the distance from Midtown to Hartsfield, no complaints from residents there.

Vince

June 21st, 2010
12:07 pm

Boy…Mike and Art… You took my statement that the areas north of Lawrenceville (Hamilton Mill/Dacula/North Lawrenceville) are nice and not “dumps” to mean that they are near the airport…though certainly much of the Hamilton Mill area south of the clubhouse, would be affected.

I don’t think the flight patterns would change much unless they plan to turn the runways perpendicular to what they are now. The flight patterns would run right over the Dacula cluster schools (about two miles from the airport) and over Gwinnett Medical Center, again about two miles from the runway. If the jets bank even slightly after takeoff they would fly right overhead of the courthouse, Central Gwinnett High School, Lawrenceville Elementary and Georgia Gwinnett College.

There are so many subdivisions within two miles of Briscoe Field with houses in the 250,000 – 500,000 price range. However, price of the homes should not make a difference. We are talking about people’s lives.

AH

June 21st, 2010
12:54 pm

@ Vince Mike and Art are full of it. Mike is living in some fantasy world and Art is pulling “facts” out of his rear end. Bets are they both live very close to Briscoe and are looking for an easy way out.

Expansion at Briscoe won’t “fly”! Two very recent plane crashes in residential areas not far from Briscoe will be very hard to ignore. Mike & Art, good luck with your “flight” out of Gwinnett, your going to need it!

Jason

June 21st, 2010
12:56 pm

Vince,

The same argument lies in the fact that the people whom own those 200,000 -300,000 dollar homes who decided to build those homes near the airport. THE AIRPORT DID NOT MOVE TO THEM!!! Guys, this issue has always and will always be around airports that “like LZU-Lawrenceville” was planned to be expanded. Pilots per the FAA have to abide by noise abatement rules governing over a specific airport. Departing off of runway 25 a aircraft can easily depart to the north and avoid the majority of Lawrenceville. Newer regulation of aircraft engines have also made them much less noisy and efficient than in the past. Again airplane noise means money coming into a cash strapped area!!!

Art Vandalay

June 21st, 2010
1:51 pm

AH assuming i live in gwinnett county is perhaps the most offensive thing anyone has ever thought about me.

AH

June 21st, 2010
1:52 pm

Briscoe has no place to expand … that is unless there are plans to bulldoze houses belonging to Mike, Art & Jason.

Jason

June 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

AH,

There is plenty of room for growth for LZU, please do not comment on things in which you know nothing about!

Meme

June 21st, 2010
2:00 pm

Vince, I bought my condo 22 years ago and I would love for the FCC or anyone else to buy it so that I could move.

Jason

June 21st, 2010
2:35 pm

Guys…

The real point is to make the growth of LZU into an airport that would be for the use of smaller regional aircraft i.e. a CRJ 700 regional jet. This would lessen the burden of having the trouble of driving to Hartsfield to catch a smaller regional to catch a direct or connecting flight. The noise that two of the engines on the CRJ-700, the General Electric CF34-8C1 is comparable to the same noise output as a Rolls Royce Tay Mk 611-8C turbofan/Honeywell TFE731-20 turbofan engines which is in the Gulfstream/Learjet aircraft which commonly go in and out of LZU daily. Boeing 737 are rarely used for regional flights.

Ben

June 21st, 2010
2:42 pm

I lived in Gwinnett long before Briscoe Field was in existence. The noise level is terrible. In the morning the flights leaving Briscoe comes right over my home and is verry exasperating. Most of you people wanting this expansion will not profit one thin dime. people You only want to control what happen to other people in the name of prosperity as you see it.