background image
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
Page 174
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 10
At the same time, Andy requested permits
for the hangars, fuel station, terminal build-
ing, access drive, drainage and water quality
pond and other improvements. In a perfect
world the City reviewed our construction
documents, signed off on completeness, per-
formed a detailed review of the drawings and
specifications, and sent us written comments
along with a long list of suggested changes.
With any change requests, we typically
sent the comments to KSA Engineers who
read through them, proceeded to make the
easy changes, and called me if a modification
to construction meant more money. Once all
of the changes were made, we sent the entire
package back to the planning department for
another round of reviews.
If everything went smoothly a variance and
permits of this sort would take a couple of
months. That didn't happen.
Seven months later, a somewhat worn
Andy Perry came up with a new timeline to
finalize the permits. The new target date: De-
cember, when with any luck we went before
the environmental review board and got their
unqualified approval.
Andy tried desperately to get on the De-
cember agenda. It turned out someone at the
planning office hadn't reviewed our project
according to the prescribed schedule and we
were therefore pushed back to January. In
January 2010 the environmental review board
cancelled its first meeting of the month. Then
one of the City staff asked for more informa-
tion--detailed specifications regarding the
silt fence surrounding the construction area--
which meant sending the drawings back to
the engineers to prepare yet another written
response explaining their calculations. In the
meantime we missed another review board
meeting. We got on the agenda for February,
missed the first meeting of the month for rea-
sons I can't recall, and were rescheduled to
go before the board in late February.
This time we were ready. To bolster our
position with the review board members, we
invited more than a dozen local pilots to show
up and demonstrate their glowing support for
the airport. Overkill, it turned out, because
not a single angry neighbor or competing real
estate developer showed up to oppose our
permit. After a long-winded speech by a resi-
dent regarding another project, an exhaust-
ed and disheveled chairwoman invited Andy
Perry to the podium, and instead of listening
to whatever he had to say, she lifted a hand (as
if to say, "Don't speak"), took an informal vote
of board members who all agreed, abruptly
approved the permit and politely asked Andy
to leave (without Andy having said a word).
Our next step was to go before the planning
and zoning board--the bureaucratic body that
officially issued our variance and permits.
Days before the planning meeting in March,
Andy received a call from the City's case man-
ager. The manager had bad news: The envi-
ronmental review board had made a mistake.
Apparently the chairwomen hadn't followed
the rules of order and therefore our approved
permit was invalid. Without a valid environ-
mental review approval, we were bumped off
the planning and zoning board agenda. Andy