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Don Scott Airport Committees Still Being Formed
the Worthington News (SNP), October 26, 2005

Don Scott Airport committees still being formed

By JACK SOWERS
Reprinted courtesy of the Worthington News/SNP 2005

The two advisory committees for Ohio State University's Don Scott Airfield are still very much a work in progress.

That will probably remain the case in the days leading up to their first meetings, tentatively scheduled for the second week in November.

The committees, the Airport Advisory Board and Noise subcommittee, will be comprised of representatives from municipalities directly affected by the airport, as well as county and regional organizations.

"There is a lot we need to work through, in terms of defining activities, agenda, processes and procedures," said William "Bud" Baeslack, Dean of OSU's College of Engineering and committee organizer. "We'll be using the committees themselves to help develop that."

Questions remain, Baeslack confirmed, about how much authority the committees will have beyond making recommendations to the university and to the airport.
"I would view everything these committees do is advisory, as opposed to legislative authority. But that is not to say the university won't very seriously consider the opinions. I see these committees as a major (component) to enhance communication, to get the facts out and be a forum for an exchange of ideas and accurate information," Baeslack said. "One of the issues has been not good communication among these groups and the university."

Dennis Hennen, president of a group opposed to expansion at Don Scott, may agree. He said he is upset about what he considers short notice to choose a representative from his group, We Oppose Ohio State (airport) Expansion, for one of two airport advisory committees.

Hennen says WOOSE was given only a few days to submit the name of a candidate for the Airport Advisory Board's Noise subcommittee.

Hennen said WOOSE didn't receive a formal request letter to submit a subcommittee nominee until Oct. 11 -- one day after Columbus Day, four days after the letter was dated -- with a deadline of Oct. 14 for submission to the College of Engineering office by Oct. 14.

"It was completely surprising they thought that was an acceptable amount of time," Hennen said. "It's hard to comprehend."

Hennen also says he's wary of the vague purpose of the committees.
"What the committees (would be) doing were not well-defined. They're still not well-defined," Hennen said. "I still have no idea what those committees will be doing, how they will act, what specifically their roles are...They've never asked us, 'What do you recommend, what do you think?"

The Airport Advisory Board will consist of at least 12 members, including one representative from Columbus, Worthington, Riverlea and Dublin. The board also invited Franklin County and the Hilliard to participate. The board will also include three representatives serving airport users, a personal aircraft owner, a commercial operator and a member of OSU's corporate flight department.
In original documents from the OSU College of Engineering, WOOSE had not been invited to select a representative for the Airport Advisory Board, but that has since changed.

The board will also include one representative each from University Central Administration, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and from the OSU student body -- most likely an aviation student.

"My goal is to be inclusive," Baeslack said. "(But) I don't want (the committees) to be so huge as to be unwieldy."

Hennen has expressed concerned that the Northwest Civic Association and Sharon Township government had originally been omitted from a list of municipalities and organizations invited to participate in the advisory committee. But Baeslack said he has extended an invitation to the NWCA -- which the association accepted -- and will likely do so for Sharon Township as well.
Baeslack said the committees will meet at least quarterly, and it is likely the Noise Subcommittee will meet more frequently in the initial stages to coordinate noise complaint systems and procedures.

"This noise committee is more important to me. I would envision times by need to meet more often than (quarterly), particularly early on," Baeslack said.
Baeslack said the university is currently interviewing candidates for the position of airport community relations manager.

One of the responsibilities for that position is to coordinate the activities of the two committees. "That person," Baeslack said, "will be responsible for working with these groups and, ultimately, in developing processes, procedures and guidelines."

Read more Central Ohio Community News at the Suburban News Publications Web site, SNPonline.com.

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