...Tangling With The Neighbors...

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Meanwhile, in Stuart, Fla., a disgruntled airport neighbor has enlisted the local trees in his own campaign against low-flying aircraft. Homeowner Michael Carter attached flagpoles to the tops of two 40-foot pine trees on the final approach path to Witham Field. Carter told The Stuart News that he put up the flags to remind pilots that people live in the area, but pilots have complained that they interfere with aircraft on final approach. Witham Field faces other threats as well: a recent report by the county that operates the airport found only three options for its future: downsizing, relocation, or outright closure. This week, AOPA sent a stern letter to the county warning that it will fight any attempt to move or downsize the airport. AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn said the county accepted federal airport improvement funds, which come with airtight grant obligations. "One of the key obligations is to keep the airport open for a period of 20 years from the grant date. In the case of Witham Field, our records indicate a 2002 FAA grant in the amount of $673,064, meaning the airport must remain open as an airport until at least the year 2022," Dunn wrote.