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Airport tree removal project plagues Float Plane couple

Posted: August 22, 2013 - 8:10pm  |  Updated: August 23, 2013 - 8:36am
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Les and Susan Bradley stand outside their home on Float Plane Road. Behind the couple are the threes the city of Kenai topped as part of the Kenai Municipal Airport tree obstruction removal project. Behind the trees is the airport. The Bradleys say too little block their home for the airport now that the trees are topped.   Dan Schwartz
Dan Schwartz
Les and Susan Bradley stand outside their home on Float Plane Road. Behind the couple are the threes the city of Kenai topped as part of the Kenai Municipal Airport tree obstruction removal project. Behind the trees is the airport. The Bradleys say too little block their home for the airport now that the trees are topped.

Les Bradley pointed with a pencil to all the red dots on the project map.

The dots mark trees, and all marked trees in front of his and his wife, Susan Bradley’s Float Plane Road home are at least 10 feet shorter.

From their second-story windows, the Bradley’s now have a nearly unobstructed view of the Kenai Municipal Airport tarmac, Susan said.

The cut trees are the result of the Kenai Municipal Airport obstruction tree removal project. The project, which is slated to end Sept. 30, will cut almost 2,000 trees jutting into airport’s flight path.

At its Wednesday night meeting, city council listened to the Bradley’s speak about their concerns with the tree removal project. The couple have spoken at four council meetings and several planning and zoning commission meetings, Les said.

Les placed a flashing pocket strobe light on the podium when he spoke to the council. “This is our bedroom on a dark night,” he said. “You can imagine what that would look like.”

Mayor Pat Porter said the light in her bedroom would drive her “crazy.”

Since the city topped the row of trees across the Bradley’s house in early August, plane emissions, light pollution, elevated noise and increased wind speeds have been a problem, Les said. Susan worries that large snowdrifts will form against their home without the buffer of trees, she said.

“See that red and white striped pole?” Susan said Thursday from their bedroom window, pointing past the cut trees to the runway. “Those are yellow lights, and they go all up and down the runway (at night).”

The project will remove 1,213 trees and partially top 779 other trees. The majority of the trees grow on city and airport owned property.

But 13 privately owned properties also obstruct the airport’s runway flight path. And trees on those properties will fall, too.

Kenai has proposed options to compensating the affected residents.

The city may mound dirt with planted foliage to shield the properties losing trees, City Manager Rick Koch said. The city also is considering buying the affected properties, Koch said. Mary Bondurant, airport manager, said that is an ideal outcome.

The Bradleys, however, have lived in their home since 1997, and they have invested thousands of dollars renovating the house and improving their property, Les said. And because their property’s assessed value has dropped since they bought the lot, they won’t be able to buy a new house if the city buys their property at the current market value, Les said.

Les has suggested the city relocate the airport runway, but Koch said that is not an option. Relocation would be an at least $50 million project, he said.

Kenai has listened to the Bradley’s concerns throughout the entire project, Koch said. FAA is also aware, he said, and, in his dealings with the Alaska FAA branch, the administration has been very responsive to community concerns, he said.

The city will replant new trees along Float Plane Road among the topped trees to reduce the visual impacts, according to the project document.

But that won’t help the Bradley’s, Susan said. She and her husband are almost 70 years old. They might be gone when the new trees grow in, she said.

“We’ve lost a lot,” she said. “I don’t know if (the city) could make that up.”

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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Don Norton
27
Points
Don Norton 08/24/13 - 11:56 am
0
1
Trimmed trees and airport growth.

It is what comes along with growth of an airport or growth of a city. It seems to me to many people cause more of a problem than what there really is. The main thing here is that you have been used to the way things were and now the change is something new and it will take time for you to adjust. When it's light outside almost 24 hrs aday in the summer does that light keep you up or when a car drives by your house does that keep you up I bet not. How about before they topped the trees did a plane approaching the airport comen into land bother you I bet not because you were used to it and now the tree trimming is not what you wanted so you are letting it get to you because you did not want it. Stop lookig for something to complain about and let your mind ease and things will be okay.
I moved from alaska a few years ago and bought a house where I live now low and behold they moved the interstateit is less than 300 yards from my house I let it bother me for awhile letting every truck and car and motorcycle going down the road [filtered word] me off but I decided to relax and go with the flow LOW and BEHOLD I don't even hear a car or truck or motorcycle going down the interstae or even a emergency vehicle siren any more. Because I relaxed and let it go. RAISEN all this hell isn't worth it and loosen your health over it because you didn't like it is not worth the trouble just relax and it will be like nothing has changed when you decide to let it go.

Safetypin3
11
Points
Safetypin3 08/24/13 - 05:31 pm
0
0
Oh my gosh...

Mayor Porter: “My major response was, if they really have a strobe light that’s flashing into their windows like that, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we really need to try and help solve this problem.’ And that was my question to them: had they spoken to the administration? And they had not. So, we sort of suggested that our administrators get together and talk to the Bradleys and see how we might could maybe solve the problem or find some type of solution that might work for them.” (KSRM post, 8/22/2013)

At its Wednesday night meeting, city council listened to the Bradley’s speak about their concerns with the tree removal project. The couple have spoken at four council meetings and several planning and zoning commission meetings, Les said. (Peninsula Clarion, 8/23/2013)

So, are we to believe the Mayor was unaware of Mr. & Mrs. Bradley’s concerns prior to the tree removal? (She wouldn’t have had to been in attendance at those council and Planning & Zoning Commission meetings to learn about the concerns; she receives copies of all city meeting minutes in.) Or, maybe it’s an election year and she has her ‘pretend empathy’ hat on.

Akrdnk
4
Points
Akrdnk 08/25/13 - 10:01 am
0
0
No surprise

The Bradley's have lived in their house since 1997, the airport began construction in 1937. It shouldn't come as a surprise to the Bradley's that there was an airport there when they moved in. As a home owner myself I feel sorry for these people. No one wants to be inconvenienced or annoyed by neighboring houses or businesses. But they purchased the home knowing they lived near an airport! All airports have to maintain clear flight paths for the safety of all pilots and passengers.

corinnep
241
Points
corinnep 08/25/13 - 06:00 pm
1
0
Don Norton and Alaska Red

Don Norton and Alaska Red Neck don't know what they are talking about. The trees around the Kenai airport have been in the same location since 1937, with no problems whatsoever. There has not been one single reported incident of an airplane having trouble taking off from the Kenai airport because of the trees.

Don Norton
27
Points
Don Norton 08/26/13 - 04:54 am
0
1
@corinnep

You are right there has never been a critical accident but there has been several close calls. So in your mind if nobody has crashed or been killed in a major airort incident at the KENAI AIRPORT they should not take precautionary actions to prevent one from occuring??? You must be tunnel visioned on the growth of trees. So you don't think the trees have grown any since 1937?? you don't think the trees have gotten taller?? Even the Bradley's have made the comment the trees have grown taller than there house since they moved in. SO you are to nieve to think the taller the tres have gotten is not a saftey concern for the airport?? Just think about it for a minute if you and your husband or even your whole family is on a plane comeing into land at the airport and the trees caused the plane to have a fatal crash and all in your family died but you would you still have the same blind out look for air trffic saftey?? I bet not. The Bradley's delt with the airport before and now things are not the norm it is a change and they will have to relax and get used to it. Like I said in my first post in a few weeks it will not bother them at all. Besides them saying the flashing lights keep them up does the light of the midnight sun keep them up I bet not. Because they are used to it. They will get used to this change also.
So far as I do not know what I'm talking about I got used to the interstate noise and lights,sirens in just a few weeks once I excepted the fact it was there to stay. Kind of like the AIRPORT it was there way before the Bradley's come to live there and it will be there way after the Bradleys are gone. I just hope they don't try to sue the airport because they bought a house at the end of a runway in the 1970's You would had to been awful dumb not to realize the airport would grow and those saplings would have to be cut some day.
Time for the Bradley's to except the fact the trees are a saftey issue and cutting them could save there lives and the lives of passengers and tourists comen to Kenai to support the city econmic income. LOVE KENAI I LIVED THERE FOR MANY YEARS AND FLOWN OUT OF THAT AIRPORT HUNDREDS OF TIMES

kenairesident
68
Points
kenairesident 08/26/13 - 01:23 pm
0
0
we live near KBeach road and

we live near KBeach road and our neighbors cut a bunch of trees down along KBeach and it added lots of street noise to our house. But, it was too late. We didnt know they were going to do it. I feel bad for these people too. Maybe get some dark blinds?

Allen
590
Points
Allen 08/27/13 - 12:23 pm
1
0
I am not convinced by Akrdnk

I am not convinced by Akrdnk or Don Norton that just because the Kenai airport was built a long time ago that anything goes. The airport can and should be a good neighbor to the adjacent neighborhoods, and that includes having good noise and dust buffers like the trees and bushes that did exist until a few weeks ago.

The City of Kenai went way overboard in the cutting and clearing they did, it's ridiculous. Go down Float Plane Road and see for yourself.

I looked up Don Norton on the State of Alaska web site and he never owned property in Kenai, according to their records, the property he did own was well north of town near Bernice Lake.

beaverlooper
2390
Points
beaverlooper 08/28/13 - 09:46 am
1
1
I agree Allen

I agree 100% @ Allen.
The city illegally and without notice cut down trees along Walker lane ,a neighborhood that was here long before Mayor Porter or Mr. Koch, our city administrator, ever set foot in Kenai .This would have left Walker lane with a view of a big dirt field and no protection from the dust the wind carries with it from that field.The administration could have cared less what the people who lived there thought.There was meeting after meeting, with testimony, at the zoning commission , the city counsel and a petition.All to no avail .The only thing stopped the remaining trees from getting cut down was the borough plat which also made the trees that they had already cut down a violation. What did the city do? They tried to get the plat changed and thankfully that change was denied.
As for Mr Norton, some one who has flown out of the Kenai airport hundreds of times should know there is swamp at one end of the runway and a cemetery( they have already topped those trees) at the other end.Not houses.
So much for Mr Norton's creditability.
This is all about a float plane pond and it could be relocated easily.
No neighborhood is safe under this city administration. There is an election this fall and we need a new Mayor ,vote her out. Then maybe we could get a new city administrator as well.

Don Norton
27
Points
Don Norton 08/28/13 - 02:54 pm
2
1
whinners and there backer's

The Whinners and all who side with them thinking if you buy property around an airport are immune to growth and saftey of the airport and airport traffic is just mind boggling. You people are the biggest reason this country is in the shape it's in. You think every thing revolves around you. Go look up all the airports in the country and this happens at every one of them. People buy property around and by and airport that has been there for many many many more years than the people who have bought the property to live on. Then OMG the airport is growing a nd they have to do things to make it better,safer, and easier accessible and you whine in HOPES of the airports having to compensate you for it. Get over it SAFTEY COMES FIRST.
beaverlooper I know all about the cemetary I know all about the swamp as you would call it. I have freinds who live off the side of both ends of the airprot. The problem with you wanting to throw mud at me is the truth hurts.

Now that you put your foot in your mouth about the swamp and the cemetary. Why son't you go out there and measure to see exactly how far from the end of the runway the Bradley house is and then use your actual intelligence to actually see if this is a problem or just a change that they are not used to yet.
I told you from experience the change is new and they will not even notice it after awhile just like the interstate trffic going by my house now. I don't even hear it or see the traffic anymore.

corinnep
241
Points
corinnep 08/29/13 - 05:01 pm
1
0
The Bradleys don't live

The Bradleys don't live anywhere near the end of the airport runways.

Don Norton, your posts are offensive. All you have are insults. You don't live here, you don't know anything about this issue, those of us who do live here are not interested in your opinion.

beaverlooper
2390
Points
beaverlooper 08/29/13 - 06:56 pm
0
0
Don,You can't see any better than you can spell

You can't see any better than you can spell. If there is a "friend" living off the north end of the runway they must live in a tent. That area is classified on the borough web site as a lake bed, looks like swamp to me.If you look at the satellite view there are no houses. And yea I used to live off the side of the south end of the runway,I lived on Forrest drive.Now I live off the other side of the south end,I live on Beaver Loop."Off to the side" is a relative thing.
I stand by my previous post.
Since you don't live here any more why don't you tell the people where you DO live what and when they should object to in YOUR town. If you vote here you have a right to object things you don't like here.

coolbreeze99672
49
Points
coolbreeze99672 08/29/13 - 09:54 pm
0
1
Alternative Solution...

How about we just move the entire airport 10 miles out of town? Wrap that rascal in moose proof fencing and call it a day. Of course then you'll have somebody complaining about having to drive so far to get to the airport, through all those...tree's!

Don Norton
27
Points
Don Norton 09/02/13 - 08:53 am
0
0
Apology

To all who I may have offended with the comments on the tree remove. I apologize I didn't mean to upset or offend any one. Seems it has tho. Please except my apology.
I may have been insensitive on how I commented but the point I was trying to make is this.
Change to our normal everyday life upsets everybody iincluding me. As I mentioned the moving of the interstate closer to my house and property upset me in the beginning but when I finnaly decided to except the fact it was not going any where I decided to not let it eat at me anymore and I was surprised how quick it was that I forgot about it and the noise and the traffic,lights tire roar ect.. Now I don't even notice it being there unless I'm outside and see the traffic going down the road.
Hope all gets better for the Bradley's.
Thank You Don

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