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A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 7
traffic, ruin Austin's only realistic shot at a
new modern corporate jet center with a pre-
cision instrument approach being completed
anytime in the next ten years, and devalue my
investment. I went on to explain that I planned
to have the new runway in place by March
2008. This was long before LCRA would even
have broken ground on the transmission line
improvements scheduled for March 2010.
I wasn't the only one required to file writ-
ten testimony. Frank McIllwain did the same,
and in February we were scheduled to show
up in court to get grilled by opposing counsel.
An Endless Request
for Information
The same day Kay Trostle submitted my
testimony to the court, she e-mailed to say
we had more work to do. In fact, we had little
time to respond to LCRA's formal Request for
Information, in which they asked questions
and I was legally obliged to answer truthfully.
Kay reminded me that our response was due
the following Monday. I had five days to gath-
er documents and answer twenty-one agoniz-
ingly detailed questions designed to trip me
up and thus weaken my position.
Nevertheless, I did as I was told, and Frank
McIllwain, Kay, and I dug into the RFI docu-
ments, producing draft after draft of our re-
sponse. Exactly five days later, we met the
deadline, submitted the RFI to the court, took
a collective breath, and waited. Not three days
later, LCRA and its nitpicking attorneys hit us
with a Second Request for Information, this
one with fifteen additional questions, probing
deeper into my life and business.
About this time Kay inherited an additional
pile of paperwork, a new Request for Infor-
mation, this one from fellow intervenor, Pol-
lard/Ohlendorf, a family of landowners along
transmission line links 71, 99, 102, and 103.
Most of these links were part of Routes 16,
19, and 22. Note that not a single link was con-
tained in LCRA's preferred Route 24, which
interfered with Bird's Nest Airport.
The point of the Pollard/Ohlendorf RFI
was to weaken my argument that LCRA's pre-
ferred Route 24 was a bad idea and at the same
time to strengthen Pollard/Ohlendorf's posi-
tion that Route 24 was the best possible solu-
tion precisely because it didn't come close to
any of the Pollard/Ohlendorf properties.
In short, what was best for me was not nec-
essarily best for the Pollard/Ohlendorf fam-
ily. Robert Ohlendorf, on behalf of his family,
was afraid that if I convinced the judges that
my airport was a valuable and much-needed
addition to the Austin community, the judges
might just choose an alternate transmission
route that in effect ordered LCRA to legally
trample across some of the Pollard/Ohlen-
dorf's fifteen hundred-plus acres.
And as much as I hated thumbing through
more paperwork, I soon realized that Mr.
Ohlendorf's reasons for wishing LCRA might
magically vanish were every bit as valid as my
own. According to the text, building a power
line across some or all of the Pollard/Ohlen-
dorf's twenty-one properties would: disturb