Leighton Twp. air park is issue that refuses to die

Kate Scheltema (left) shows a video on her laptop to Leighton board members Char Troost, Mary Lou Nieuwenhuis, Brian Bonnema, John Hooker and Steve Deer.

Though the final decision to approve the proposed air strip in Leighton Township was made, opponents of the project remain undaunted.

Kate Scheltema, perhaps the most vocal opponent, continued her verbal assault on the air park at Thursday night’s Township Board meeting and John Tymes added his objections to lack of due diligence about noise levels the planes will bring.

Air park opponents continue their legal fight in court and they have been reported to be launching a petition drive to get the special use permit request rejected by voters in a special referendum next year.

Scheltema, a neighbor of the air strip who has been very public in expressing her opposition publicly for almost two years, showed board members a video from her laptop that demonstrated how close the runway will be to her home and horse farm. She said the agreement does not include requirements to have the run re-routed, and right now it’s too close.

“I’m concerned about planes flying 100 feet from my front door,” she told the board. “You have opened Pandora’s Box. We (the neighbors) will have to live with the decisions that have been made. They won’t affect any of you.”

The board voted 4-0 to approve a special use permit for the planned development at a special meeting Oct. 18 in which Supervisor Steve Deer was absent because he is a partner in the project with developer Clark Galloway. Deer has recused himself from all discussions and deliberations toward making a decision.

Nevertheless, Scheltema brought up an analogy about land use. She said if you owned land where you and family members and friend played baseball for 40 years and hit fly balls into a vacant lot, a new owner of that property could stop that activity because it is a nuisance and trespass.

Tymes said the board did not take into consideration how much noise would be added to a peaceful rural neighborhood. He said anything above an average of 60 decibels would be unacceptable, but the so-called experts on the issue weren’t forthcoming on pertinent information when questions were asked.

Regardless, the project will proceed with four residential properties and hangars for seven planes. The site formerly was used used by Bill and Rita Martin as an air strip for private planes, but there was a period recently in which it was not used.



1 Comment

  • This ridiculous air park needs to be stopped before Clark Galloway and Steve Deer run off to the bank with money they gained by ruining the living environment for Kate Scheltema and other residents on adjacent property. The only thing more ridiculous than the air park proposal was/is the deliberation by the Township Board. It was a display of incompetence and corruption that is unmatched in my experience of public government.

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