DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, a big, noisy neighbor that has drawn ire from nearby residents for two decades, may be about to build its way into people’s hearts.
The airport’s director wants to close a crosswinds runway near Clairmont Road and build hangars to house 63 more planes. The $5.6 million project could mean that many more planes in and out of PDK, the state’s second-busiest airport.
But the plan also would take up the only available space for a central terminal that commercial planes would need if they ever set up shop there. With the hangars up, the passenger planes many residents fear could create “Hartsfield North” wouldn’t have enough room to operate.
“I think it’s a good thing, all around,” said the director, Mike Van Wie.
The county has owned the former U.S. Navy base since 1959, using the airstrip mostly for general aviation. As the area grew, however, plans were floated to turn PDK into a commercial airport.
Residents organized and forced those ideas into a continual holding pattern while also fighting for better environmental and noise control for their neighborhoods.
Some residents find the idea intriguing that new construction could put an end to talk of Delta or other airlines someday flying there.
“Our initial reaction to anything is caution,” said Larry Foster, a resident who has been involved with two groups battling with the airport, PDK Watch and Open DeKalb.
“If he’s right, that this could put an end to talk of commercial planes, we’d be more than happy to have that area taken out of commission,” Foster said.
County commissioners also want more information. Van Wie last week made his first presentation of the idea to the County Commission, looking to get a feel for support before he spends $350,000 on a design study.
That expense and all others would come from the county’s airport enterprise account. It’s funded by lease revenue from existing hangars and fueling fees for those tenants.
That money would increase with new hangars and is expected to pay off an investment in about 12 1/2 years. The hangars themselves have life spans more than twice that, making them a wise investment, Van Wie said.
At the same time, new hangars also could help the county financially. DeKalb could get up to $500,000 a year in property taxes on planes in the new hangars. The county also receives a share of sales taxes on all fuel sales.
“I think it would be a great idea, but we have to have a meeting with the community so we can assure people we are not planning a facility for AirTran,” Commissioner Stan Watson said.
Van Wie plans to present the proposal to the airport’s advisory board in the next month, where residents such as Foster can get more information.
If the board approves the plan, a design could be done by year’s end. If construction begins by early next summer, the hangars could be up in fall 2012.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Welcome to the South's premiere airport located in Atlanta Georgia
DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (IATA: PDK, ICAO: KPDK) is a municipal general aviation airport located in Chamblee, Georgia, just northeast of Atlanta. It is operated by the local government of DeKalb County, Georgia, and is also known commonly as Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, or simply PDK. Other names (rarely used) include Peachtree Airport, DeKalb Airport, or DeKalb County Airport. It is more commonly called "Peachtree DeKalb". ASOS weather reports are produced 24 hours per day as "Chamblee". On the radio, however, it is referred to as "Peachtree Tower" or "Peachtree Ground".
The airport originally began during early World War II as Naval Air Station Atlanta, now located in Marietta on the south side of Dobbins Air Reserve Base. The property was part of Camp Gordon, a World War I era training camp. Leased from the county by the U.S. Navy, it was converted from military to civilian use from 1957 to 1959. The former barracks located there during the war became classrooms in late 1948 for Southern Technical Institute, a new engineering technology school created by Georgia Tech for former soldiers. Like NAS Atlanta, that school moved around 1958 to land donated by Dobbins, and is now known as Southern Polytechnic State University.
The airport still has 765 acres or 3.1km² of land, with over 100 hangars and several hundred aircraft based there. It is the second-busiest airport in Georgia behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the number of flight operations per year (around 250,000), and helps to relieve ATL of smaller-airplane traffic. It also has a helipad, used by helicopters for metro Atlanta's four major news TV stations (WSB-TV 2, WAGA-TV 5, WXIA-TV 11, WGCL-TV 46) as the base for electronic news gathering from the air. A control tower was built in 1988, and stands at 130 feet or 40 meters tall. The main runway (20L) is 6000 feet or 1829 meters long.
IATA: PDK – ICAO: KPDK
|Coordinates||33°52′32.2″N 84°18′07.1″W? / ?33.875611, -84.301972Coordinates: 33°52′32.2″N 84°18′07.1″W? / ?33.875611, -84.301972|