EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) -
Recent reports in the local paper stating that the "taps are back on" for federal funding are turning out to be more fake news. County Chairman Voigt's assertion these complaints stopped the repairing or replacing the rotating beacon light at the airport doesn't hold water either.
All the county had to do was write a check from the county farm fund to pay for the repairs - since the county farm fund comes from leasing of airport property and is to be used exclusively for airport purposes. Attempts by Gary Henry to place the blame on Bogue's insistence on the Edgar County Airport simply following the laws they are operating under is baseless. The sole blame lies on the county.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Intermodal Transportation, issued a letter to Jeff Voigt, County Board Chairman, saying that they are confident Edgar County's Airport is compliant "with the intent" of the General County Airport and Landing Field Act. We found it quite telling IDOT's Chief Counsel didn't say the Edgar County Airport actually complied with the law, because we know they did not, and are not, compliant with the law.
Even more ironic is Gary Henry's claim that IDOT apologized for the delay in providing an answer to the County. Reading the letter proves Henry's claim to be fake news as there is no apology found in the letter sent by IDOT Chief Counsel.
In previous work-stoppages with this grant, the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") had stated that prior to any funds being allocated to the Edgar County Airport, the FAA must review and approve any decisions made by IDOT.
IDOT received a letter yesterday, informing them not to issue any federal grants to the Edgar County Airport until they, the FAA, had conducted their own analysis of the zoning issue.
County Chairman Jeff Voigt acknowledged he was aware of this new development.
The only current issue is whether the "hazard zoning" the county thinks applies, will substitute for the "land zoning" required under state law - we believe it will not substitute as each have their own purpose, and the more stringent requirements apply.
We believe it does not substitute in several ways. First, there was never a 3-person zoning commission established to develop zoning as required by the County Airport and Landing Field Act, and, second, "land" is still not zoned as required by state law.
The Airport Zoning Act does not repeal and replace the more stringent requirements of the General County Airport and Landing Field Act for "land" zoning and a three-person zoning commission - which is a similar circumstance to the below case from 1967:
"Clearly, the Aeronautics Act was not intended to and does not cover the whole subject matter of the Act conferring zoning powers upon the counties. No repeal may be implied on this ground; consequently, no extended discussion is required on this point." County of DuPage v. Harris, 231 NE 2d 195 - Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1967
"The Airport Zoning Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 15 1/2, pars 48.1-48.112, incl.) empowers the Department to adopt zoning regulations for an airport hazard area related to publicly-owned airports. This Act, however, also expressly recognized the zoning powers of counties."
"We are of the opinion that the control over restricted landing areas conferred upon the Department of Aeronautics by the Aeronautics Act presupposes compliance with local zoning ordinances. In those areas appropriately zoned for restricted landing areas, the Department may then assume jurisdiction and control over the landing area so long as the local zoning ordinances are not violated."
In Edgar County's case, there is no local zoning ordinances, and therefore no jurisdiction or control may be had.
IE: Land zoning applies to the uses of land, and air hazard zoning restrict air hazards. They are two separate zoning issues, and the General County Airport and Landing Field Act required zoning over the land in order to improve or expand airports and landing fields.