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Page 134
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 7
an ancient Indian burial ground and prevent
the US Air Aerobatic team from future air
shows along link 71; crush land values for a
planned new home to be built along link 99;
destroy six or more 100-year-old heritage live
oaks (some nearly 4 feet in diameter) and in
the process strand great gaggles of purple
martins, red-bellied woodpeckers, and cattle
egrets (a species whose foremost claim to
fame was gobbling up ticks and flies from the
backs of grazing cattle, of which the Pollard/
Ohlendorf outfit had many) while sullying the
view from Robert Ohlendorf's vacation home
along the banks of the San Marcos River,
which happened to rest too close to link 103.
For these reasons and others, the Pollard/
Ohlendorf bunch politely asked the PUC and
its learned judges to disregard any of the pow-
er line routes that ran anywhere near their
properties and instead choose the only route
that excluded all four links (Route 24)--and,
in doing so, make the whole mess someone
else's problem.
The Pollard/Ohlendorf properties were
forty miles south of Bird's Nest Airport and
had absolutely nothing to do with the air-
port--pilot safety or the comings and goings
around Bird's Nest Airport. Nonetheless, I
reviewed their requests, answered each ques-
tion as best I could, and returned the RFI in a
timely manner.
The Law is Slow Business
All court proceedings are agonizingly slow
and this one was no exception. Three months
after I had filed our motion on January 15,
2008, the Honorable Lilo Denise Pomerleau
and the Honorable Travis Vickery ruled on
a handful of motions, most of them to strike
the testimony, or portions of testimony, of
intervenor witnesses. The high point of the
ruling, as far as Bird's Nest Airport was con-
cerned, was spelled out on the top of page
two, in which the judges declared that testi-
mony regarding future-planned-use would be
admitted and given appropriate weight. What
this meant in plain language was that my writ-
ten testimony, along with Frank's, would be
read and considered when it came time to de-
cide exactly where LCRA would be allowed to
build its new power lines.
A few days later Texas Congressman Mi-
chael T. McCaul, a member of the U.S. House
of Representatives, sent a glowing letter to
Ben Guttery at the Federal Aviation Adminis-
tration supporting the airport and encourag-
ing the FAA to fulfill its obligation to protect
the airspace of existing and planned airports.
According to Congressman McCaul, the FAA
should stop at nothing in its zeal to convince
LCRA and the PUC to choose another route
for its power line.
My sense was that Ben Guttery, Senior
Program Manager with the FAA, was already
on board. It was hard to tell if the letter by
Congressman McCaul helped. However, a
few days later Ben Guttery sent his own letter
to Thomas Mason, (General Manager, Lower
Colorado River Authority) explaining that the
FAA had in fact approved a request by Bird's
Nest Airport to extend the existing runway
and the construction of a new 4,754-foot run-