County P&Z punts decision on airport

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The Taos County Planning and Zoning Commission did not rule on an appeal of a permit for the expansion of the Taos Regional Airport at a packed meeting Wednesday (March 5).

The commissioners voted to continue the meeting until March 11.

The decision by the board could determine whether the expansion project is allowed to move forward.

The airport is operated by the town of Taos. Nearly all of the $24-million project is being funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The majority of the standing-room-only crowd appeared opposed to the project, which primarily includes the construction of a second runway.

Proponents of the project argue it will improve safety and better position the region for economic development. Opponents contend the project will only benefit the wealthy and will increase pollution from increased air traffic.

The acting Taos County Planning Director approved a construction permit for the project in late December. That decision was appealed, prompting the hearing Wednesday. The appeal is largely based on the contention that there is not adequate zoning around the airport. There are also questions about whether certain flight monitoring systems required by Taos Pueblo are in place.

Whatever decision the board eventually makes will almost certainly be appealed to the Taos County Commissioners.

For more on this story, check back to taosnews.com.

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