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Airport authority gathering comments on tree removal plan

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GLASTONBURY – The Connecticut Airport Authority is visiting towns that would be affected by a plan to clear trees obstructing airspace.

On Wednesday night, the authority presented its plan at a public hearing in Glastonbury. They did the same in Hartford on Tuesday night.

Airport authority representatives said in order to improve safety on the runways at Hartford-Brainard Airport they need to trim, and in some cases clear trees.

They said they’re required to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration.The plan is in the early stages.

Currently they’re gathering comments for an environmental impact study. Tree removal isn’t likely until 2019.

In Glastonbury, some expressed concerns about removing any trees for the sake of local residents and species that live in the area. There is a bald eagles nest close to where they are proposing clearing trees.

“I can’t imagine with endangered species in there we’re not going to look for alternatives of shutting down a runway or whatever we have to do to protect the habitat and the trees in there,” said Noreen Cullen of Glastonbury.

Others who have flown in and out of the airport said there are safety issues for pilots that need to be addressed.

William Dufford of Glastonbury said, “Trees renew themselves. I think it’s much more important to keep our air traffic safe from hitting a tree when they’re taking off or coming in and keeping the airport viable.”

Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) Kevin Dillon, said in a statement, the public hearings are an early stage in a process that Connecticut is required to undergo per FAA regulations.

“Every airport operator across the country is required to undertake periodic reviews of the approaches to their runways, and they are obligated to take any necessary action to remove obstructions that pose safety concerns. The CAA is committed to continue working with its state, municipal, and community-based partners to ensure that we are addressing those safety considerations while minimizing any necessary environmental impact,” added Dillon.

The final public hearing is on April 27 at Wethersfield Town Hall.

Online comments can be submitted until May 22. For more information click here.