The Connecticut Airport Authority is looking to clear trees around Brainard Airport, saying the obstructions need to be removed for safety reasons.
However, there are concerns about the environmental impact, which will be addressed at a public meeting being held Thursday evening.
"The taking down of 40 acres of mature trees will have no impact on the neighborhoods seems frankly that no one has Hartford’s best interest at heart over at the Connecticut Airport Authority,” said Ryan O'Halloran, who is the Advancement and Marketing director at Knox, an environmental group in Hartford.
At the meeting, the Connecticut Airport Authority will be discussing a study they conducted, which evaluated existing obstructions, primarily trees, in the airspace around Brainard Airport.
"There are a lot of things in the report that need to go exactly right to not impact both humans and furry friends, plants, things like that,” O'Halloran said.
Connecticut Airport Authority officials said the obstructions are primarily located near runway ends or on small hills surrounding the airport, and need to be removed to safely accommodate arriving and departing aircrafts.
They will also be conducting an environmental assessment.
No actual tree removal or construction activities are pending at this point, and many hope it stays that way.
"The report really needs to be revised before this project moves one more foot forward,” O'Halloran said.
Kevin A. Dillon, who is the executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, released a statement ahead of the meeting.
“Periodically, airports are required to review their runway approaches to ensure that objects penetrating defined airspace surfaces are removed to safely accommodate aircraft operations. In many cases, tree growth in the vicinity of runway ends can result in penetrations to these critical surfaces. In the case of Brainard Airport, we are undertaking a review to look at all four runway ends to determine the extent to which trees may need to be removed or selectively cut in order to provide safe airspace operating areas. Tonight’s meeting is one of the first steps in evaluating the extent to which the airport will seek to clear these airspace obstructions. The total area to be reviewed consists of 40 acres of property, and it is expected that some removal and selective tree cutting would need to be done within those 40 acres. In any actions that are needed, we try to balance important environmental considerations with the CAA’s commitment to providing safe operating conditions at its airports. No final determinations have been made at this point, and this meeting will be our first effort to inform the community on this potential project," Dillon said.
The meeting is being held at 7 p.m. at Wethersfield Town Hall on Thursday.
To learn more about the study, click here.
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