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Page 135
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 7
way and would, therefore, do whatever it had
to to protect the associated airspace. The
letter went on to explain that LCRA, for its
part, had failed to request a formal airspace
analysis of the proposed transmission line as
required by Title 14 Code of Federal Regula-
tions Part 77. After preliminary studies, Ben
said, the FAA found that one or more 185-foot
towers, what appeared to be the tallest pos-
sible structure height anywhere near Bird's
Nest Airport, would be objectionable from an
airspace utilization standpoint. An acceptable
structure height, according to Ben, was ap-
proximately 86 to 100 feet above ground level.
Alternate Route 19
After months of preparing our written tes-
timony, late nights reading other intervenor
testimony, squinting at hundreds of e-mails,
many with attachments featuring maps and
diagrams and detailed spreadsheets of costs
and links and alternate routes--after all that--
the formal hearing was five days away. At that
time, we received a request by attorney Wil-
liam B. Steele (representing Cameron Cross-
roads, an investment group which, like me,
opposed the transmission line route along
portions of SH130) asking me and others to
review a draft of a statement Steele planned
to submit to the court. Because the upcom-
ing hearing didn't allow opening statements
by counsel, Steele and his client thought it
best to get as many landowners and other
interested parties together and combine our
efforts. In a sense, Steele wanted to knock
the wind out of LCRA's argument before the
judges made a decision. The best way to do
that was to gang up on them, get a bunch of
us together, and convince the judges we had
a better idea.
Steele aimed to file a Statement of Position
encouraging Judges Pomerleau and Vickery
to select what Steele referred to as "modified
Route 19" over LCRA's troublesome Route 24.
Route 19 was better for several reasons, the
statement said--it was cheaper by $15 mil-
lion, avoided potential air hazards with both
Bird's Nest Airport and Austin Bergstrom In-
ternational Airport, mollified the City of Mar-
tindale who already had a 345-kilovolt power
line running through town and didn't want
another, and made the folks at Scenic Texas
happy at the thought of moving the hideous
space-age power line towers out of sight of
travelers driving along State Highway 130.
My first thought was, count me in. When I
talked it over with Kay, she disagreed. "You
sure you want to do this?" she asked.
"What am I missing?" I asked into the
"I have a couple of concerns. First, by
agreeing to the statement, we may be limit-
ing our ability to get additional evidence into
the record."
"What kind of evidence?"
"At this point, I have no idea," Kay said. She
sounded worn, tired, but determined. "My
second issue is that while Route 19 works for
Bird's Nest, so do several other routes."
"Hitching our wagon to Route 19," I said,
"you see it as a bad idea?"
"Why lock ourselves into one route?"