Commissioners would have a say on how new rules are implemented.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners have taken the first step to restrict high buildings and dense development in a large swath around the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.
Commissioners voted Thursday to establish an airport zoning commission to draw up regulations for development on airport flight paths, considered to extend eight miles from the ends of the airport runway.
The district will encompass large chunks of Vienna, Fowler, Bazetta and Howland townships and touches on Hubbard, Brookfield and Champion townships.
The measure is aimed at convincing U.S. Department of Defense officials that the Youngstown Air Reserve Station at the airport will not be crowded by development.
"I think it [building restriction] is very important to saving the air base," said Commissioner Dan Polivka, adding the move will save not only the jobs at the airport but "all the money those jobs bring to our economy."
In calling on commissioners to create the district, Alan Knapp, county planning commission director, proposed zoning regulations to mirror current Federal Aviation Adminstration requirements.
Those requirements ban buildings taller than 150 feet within about 2.5 miles of the airport, and buildings taller than 400 feet within about 3.5 miles. The maximum allowable heights of buildings would increase moving away from the runways, until reaching 1,200 feet at eight miles out.
Few, if any, buildings in Trumbull County are 150 feet tall and the regulations would not impact current buildings.
The much talked about indoor racetrack, however, has a proposed height of 400 feet. Officials have been considering a site near the airport for the project.
County commissioners will serve as the zoning board for the special district and would have a say over how the regulations are implemented, Commissioner James Tsagaris said.
It will be up to commissioners to adopt the regulations proposed by the new airport zoning commission, whose members have yet to be named.
Although the commission is expected to follow FAA requirements regarding building height, it will have to form its own standards for the allowable density of future development permitted in flight paths, Knapp said.
At a meeting with trustees from affected townships, Knapp said he did not expect that the regulations would be written to prevent construction of single- family homes.
How the new zoning district would hand out permits or coordinate with township zoning has not been resolved.