Whatever happened to the pressing need for a new Cleveland Airport? Why don't we see weekly statements from city officials any more lamenting that no new industry will come to Cleveland and that what we have is about to leave for lack of a new airport?
After years of trying to take some farmers land away from them because the need for an airport was more important than their property rights, but not succeeding, the city announced months ago that they had found suitable land for sale. Given the supposed urgency of the project, one would think that construction would have started at once. After all, we were repeatedly assured that the state was practically begging to give us all the money needed. Yet months have gone by and nothing has been done. What happened to the money that was supposed to be waiting? What happened to the sense of urgency that supposedly justified running roughshod over citizens rights?
As time has gone by it has become apparent that there was no need for haste in obtaining land for an airport. They weren't ready to build one anyway. The phony sense of urgency created by city officials was nothing but hype to support their pig-headed efforts to get their own way and put an airport anywhere they pleased instead of taking the trouble to find a suitable location for sale. It was all about showing off their power, not about meeting the needs of the citizens they were supposed to be serving.
Had the city not been stopped by state law in their efforts to seize farms, it is likely these farms would now be producing weeds and briars instead of wholesome food. That is assuming, of course that once farms were taken away from the owners, they would not be leased to someone with the proper connections while we wait for an airport that may or may not ever get built.
The site the city supposedly has lined up for a new airport is not zoned to permit an airport. According to current county zoning regulations, airports along with junkyards are permitted only in "special impact industrial zones." So far the city has not bothered to request a rezoning and their are rumors that the city will try to ignore county regulations and make the absurd claim that the airport is a "public utility." Public utilities are exempt from zoning for the obvious reason that electric, water, gas and similar facilities are needed in all zones. This is clearly not true of airports and the public should not tolerate any city efforts to evade the rules everyone else is made to follow. City meddling in county business is one of the main reasons rural Bradley County residents are suffering from misfortune of having zoning. Having helped create the zoning mess in Bradley County, the city ought to live with it like everyone else.