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Airport Board Drama
01/26/10 - 05:38 PM
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Mary Scott Speigner - bio
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click for larger image Panama City, Fla:

While the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport’s contractors claim they’ve got the storm water runoff problem under control, one of the airport’s board members isn’t convinced.

Airport board chairman, Joe Tannehill, says he wants to get the problem under control because he thinks they’re in danger of losing the whole project.

Residents in Burnt Mill Creek are claiming they’ve found a source of pollution coming directly from the airport.

Tannehill says he wants to hire a third party environmental firm to oversee what’s going on at the airport despite claims that they’ve got everything under control.

They’ve already purchased around a million dollars worth of sod to comply with Department of Environmental orders, something they were fined for earlier this year.

Tuesday, at the board’s meeting, they approved an additional $275,000 of sod. 

“Anytime we have a breach or violate a consent order we’re not doing what we have consented to do and said we’ve do to the DEP.  So obviously the balls in our court to make do what we say we will do,” said Tannehill.

Meanwhile, the fight between the new airport and one of its contractors may be on it’s way to being resolved.

The airport and Phoenix Construction have been at odds for a while about who’s responsible for storm water runoff problems.

It all started when the airport said Phoenix should pay the DEP’s fines against the airport.

But that’s not the only thing their arguing about.

Also at the meeting, Phoenix Constructions’ James Finch claimed that he hasn’t been paid since October and can’t pay his employees.

The airport says this is due to do miscommunications and government paper work issues.

Now their going through a process of mediation with a third party.

Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis says this mediation will help them to identify the issues and concerns for both parties.

He says this isn’t something that’s going to affect the airport’s May 23rd deadline.

“They’re not walking off the project or anything like that and I think there’s been no discussion about the airport authority terminating their contract,” said Curtis.

User Comments

not arguing oldman, but st joe bought up alot of land long ago before much of NW fl was developed, i would guess for their mills around the southeast, so thats why they have so much land. and as far as the tax loopholes, everyone is entitled to those if you have enough land. you grant it agricultural or undeveloped forest land? taxes are much cheaper? i guess its a hate the ones that have stuff? they have lawyers that show them tax loopholes, much like anyone that owns a good size business. ya, they decided to develop the area next to the new airport, and “Gave” the land to bay co, knowing that their property value would go up, sounds like smart business to me, just like chess??

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  04:15 PM

gator, how many years did those low-lifes get by without paying taxes on their massive land holdings because they were using some kind of tax loop hole that kept them exempt? And almsot every decent piece of property in NW Florida was posted St. Joe land. When the mill went belly up all of a sudden now they can profit from the land they never paid taxes on all those years? Like I said, I hope that thing is a curse on Bay County for decades to come and to the ones that sold their souls to St.in the process.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  01:56 PM

i really dont have a hatred or a cozy feeling for st joe, but one question.. isnt the reason of being in business, is to make money? ya they made a deal with DEP, seems like i remember something about the used “X” amount of wetlands so they donated so much land for protected wetlands that cant ever be used? i think it was west of 79? seems like i remember hearing about that when all this got started? and since your answering questions heres one i just dont understand… why is there so much hate, not just with the airport, for anything st joe does??

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  01:51 PM

Gator, I am all for jobs and development done in a smart and thoughtful way.  My question is, was that the only place to build a new airport (in a major wetland) There’s lot of other land in Bay County if we needed a new airport with room for a surrounding industrial complex.  Did we really need another airport in the first place.  We could have gotten Southwest airlines or another discount airline in here long ago if we had given them the deal that St Joe is giving Southwest.  Let’s face it, St Joe is running this show, not our locally elected officials.  The new airport is where it is to increase the value of the land owned by St Joe.  They are getting out of the pulp wood business and into the land development business.  That’s all well and good and more power to them if they can bring more business to this area.  However, since they are going to make millions, they need to spend millions to insure that development will not destroy the fragile environment in this area.  I would hate to see West Bay and North Bay turn into the Potomac River.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  01:20 PM

The only thing that really has me so sick of the whole thing is the two-faced way it was done. If the marshes and wetlands are to be destroyed like this then why don’t they just take the DEP and run the whole bunch out of the state and be done with them? Weren’t they the ones that blocked the runway extention, for “enviromental reasons” to begin with? And why waste the voters time by asking for their opinions when they knew all the time they weren’t going to listen? Like I said, I hope this thing comes back to bite Bay County in the butt for centuries to come just for the lowdown back-stabbing way it was done, not for any bugs, etc., it might have harmed. No, St. Joe is the only real winner here, along with their puppets on the county commission. No one knows what this thing will really ever produce…it’s all heresay right now.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  11:57 AM

oldman, normally we agree, but not this time, its kinda like not being allowed to build a building in a particular area because it would interupt the mating habbit of a bug or bird, its stupid. we need industry and jobs here in bay county, and the only way for things to grow is north. i want jobs here, and if it means that a bug will have to fing somewhere else to “do its business” then too bad, we as a civilization are more important than bugs or birds.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  11:49 AM

Do you think anyone out there really cares? The right DEP “officials” have been made “happy” along with the right county commisioners, etc., so all of the so-called concern for the marshes and wetlands has been nothing but bull! One would think that the Everglades fiasco would have taught them a lesson but where there is money involved, the environment is the LAST thing the greedy scum thinks about. I hope this thing comes back to haunt Bay County for centuries to come! And may those that sold out the voters in Bay County should rot in….for it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  11:34 AM

If you think it’s bad now, just wait until all the other construction around the airport begins.  (Businesses, subdivisions, etc)  I have hunted in those woods for many years and it is nothing but one big wetland with hundreds of creeks and streams stretching from highway 20 down to west bay.  All of the streams eventually empty into west bay.  We will soon be renaming West Bay to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Sewage Treatment Bay.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  11:28 AM

Why am I not surprised at all of this? Ever since the county commissioners crawled into bed with Phoenix Construction it was pretty evident this was going to be one majorly expensive and crappy built project. I hope the “benefits” the commissioners got from this was worth the damage being done to the environment out there….not that they’d give a d—-!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  07:33 AM
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