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A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
Page 175
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 10
moved quickly, met with the environmental
review board only days later, received formal
approval, and made it to the planning and zon-
ing meeting the following day.
I describe this process in detail as a way
of expressing just how much work went into
getting us close to nowhere.
An Issue of Motivation
Andy Perry came to work for me in March
2006 and each year thereafter he politely
inquired about a pay increase. Like clock-
work, the third week of March Andy popped
the question. His timing couldn't have been
worse. The only thing on my mind was com-
pleting the airport. At the top of my list was
getting approval for our cut and fill variance
and our other construction permits. The next
handful of items on my list had to do with the
details of grading the area, constructing the
concrete ramp, building the massive 223-foot
by 130-foot jet hangar, and breaking ground
on the terminal building. Andy's pay raise
was low on my list.
When we next spoke, Andy assured me
we'd have both permits soon. "Two weeks.
For sure."
I had, in fact, given Andy's pay some
thought. I had come up with an idea that I be-
lieved would unite our interests. "All right,"
I said. "Here's what I'll do. I'll give you a five
percent raise."
"I won't let you down."
"The way this works," I said. "You get three
percent today. You get the remaining two per-
cent if we get our permits by the end of April."
"It won't take that long," Andy said.
"That gives you five weeks. If we don't
have permits by the end of April, then your
two percent raise drops to one percent. If no
permits by the end of May, then you're stuck
with a three percent raise this year."
Suddenly, Andy Perry is a man on a mis-
sion, badgering people at the City and the en-
gineers and my own lawyer to get a move on,
or else. Until I had put the new pay plan in ef-
fect, any delays only hurt me. Now they hurt
both of us.
The first week of April arrived and still no
permits.
In late April we flew over to Austin to talk to
architect Randy Fromberg. Mid-flight I heard
Andy's phone ding--e-mail arriving. He sat
there thumbing through his message. Over
my headphones I heard him say, "This can't
be happening."
"What is it?" I asked.
"We have a small problem," Andy said.
We believed we were days from receiving
final planning approval. The only unresolved
items were the exact language of the fine
print of two agreements required by the City:
1) an easement granted to the City of Austin
that prevented Austin Executive Airport from
building on the new wetland for the next 100
years, and 2) a Unified Development Agree-
ment.
The terminal buildings, hangars, and ramp
area were designed to sit on what was the old
Zschiesche property, yet because the 370-acre
Zschiesche tract was itself composed of sev-
eral smaller parcels of land, the City required
an agreement that treated the entire tract as
one unit with rights to the new wetlands in