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woose.org: News - OSU Approves Airport Land Transfer

OSU Approves Airport Land Transfer
Posted Fri Apr 7, 2006 12:07 pm EDT

This morning the Fiscal Affairs Committee of the OSU Board of Trustees approved the transfer of
title of land within the airport boundaries. University staff and Board members assert this is
purely an administrative act, but doubts remain.

Below are the comments made by WOOSE President Dennis S. Hennen to the Board's Fiscal Affairs

# # #

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.

First, I wish to commend the University for the formation of the airport advisory and noise
committees. Only a year ago there was little communication between the University and the
community. Now we have an ongoing dialog and I am convinced we will find solutions to reduce the
noise pollution over our communities.

We have been asked to trust that the land title transfer before you this morning is purely an
administrative act. Unfortunately, the recent actions of the University give us little reason to

In your February meeting, you were to vote on an airport repavement project. However, Dean Baeslack
rightly deferred that vote after public scrutiny of the agenda found the information you were
provided was both inaccurate and incomplete.

In late February, Mr. Haverkamp provided a map to the airport advisory board showing the land
transfers. This map also contained errors which led to much of the confusion surrounding this

It is understandable that there will be human error. But it is unfortunate that these errors have
been allowed to happen on an issue of such importance to so many and on an issue that is being
watched so closely. However, the cause for our distrust goes beyond simple human error.

In a letter provided to the City of Worthington, the University stated a draft version of the Future
Airport Layout Plan has been shared with the FAA, but went on to say it has not been submitted for
formal approval. In contrast, the airport director told the airport advisory board in February that
once the layout plan is adopted by the board, "the FAA has already signed off on it."

In early March, Mr. Haverkamp told you that this land transfer was necessary to gain the full use
Board of Trustee land bordering the airport. However, this week at the Airport Advisory Board, and
again via email, Mr. Haverkamp stated the land transfer "in no way impacts the University's
right to use the land."

It is the apparent conflict in statements coming from the University that causes the most alarm.
When different audiences are told different things, it becomes difficult for us to know who or what
to believe.

We have been asked time and again to trust the University, and have been asked to trust that this
title transfer is purely an administrative action. Unfortunately, the erroneous, incomplete, and
conflicting information coming out of the University leaves little room for trust.

Our expectation has been the University would first resolve the current problems, then plan for the
future, and *only* then take steps to implement those plans.

To take action now when this very issue may become before you again depending on your decision of
future plans only underscores the need to complete your planning *before* taking action.

Time will tell whether this action is in fact unrelated to the airport expansion. My hope is that
we are wrong and that things are as we have been told. But so long as the University continues to
provide us incorrect information and to make conflicting statements, the only prudent action for us
to take is to continue to question all matters related to the airport.

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