Our View: Adopt New Airport Approach Map

by The Cape Cod Chronicle

The article adopting a new approach zone map for Chatham Airport, on the warrant of Monday’s annual town meeting in Chatham, seems a logical step in bringing the facility in line with current state and federal regulations and standards. The previous map dates from 1958; the fact that it hasn’t been updated until now is a head scratcher, since the Federal Aviation Administration-approved approach changed years ago. Previous airport commissions obviously fell down on the job. Replacing the map is an administrative correction that won’t change how aircraft take off and land at Chatham Airport, and will not change the types of planes that can use the facility (that’s governed by the length of the runway). The change will technically add about 360 full or partial properties to the approach zone, although those parcels were, as far as the FAA is concerned, there already. Those owners who may have trees on their properties that do or could intrude on airspace have already been notified, according to the commission. Approving the new map won’t change the current plan to remove trees within the vertical glide path; frankly, we’re stunned that anyone would oppose that, since it has a direct bearing on safety on the ground and in the air, which is, ostensibly, the chief concern of airport critics. Town meeting should approve the new map, and critics should bring their concerns about the vegetation removal process to the Cape Cod Commission, which will soon hold a hearing on the town’s referral.

Also at town meeting, we support approval of a new $11.4 million waterfront infrastructure bond to continue the town’s program of upgrading and improving the resilience of its waterfront facilities, which many people depend on for their livelihoods. We also endorse authorization for the select board to submit legislation to allow the town to purchase deed restrictions to ensure that homes are occupied year round. It’s a controversial step, but it’s helped ease the housing crunch elsewhere and is well worth exploring. Other articles we support include funds to begin an adult supportive day facility, a new tree protection bylaw; and exploration of a regional public swimming pool.