Airport Landscape Changes One Step Closer to Final Approval

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Multi million dollar projects are set to take off at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport, but there is concern about landscaping requirements, which could attract wildlife and interfere with aircraft.

Community beautification versus safety is the discussion now surrounding expansion talks.

"There is a conflict here with local regulations and federal regulations," said Airport Director Mike Olson.

The F-A-A wants to limit wildlife around airports and that means less places for them to live, but current city code requires one shade and ornamental tree and three shrubs for every hundred feet of frontage.

That's a cause for concern as Airport Director Mike Olson plans for $17.5 million worth of capital improvements over the next few years.

"The less wildlife you have the less likely to have a wildlife incident or whether its birds in the air or fox deer on the ground," said Olson.

Which is why there is a proposal on the table to help accommodate the airport.

"What we are doing is changing our rules because the airport has some special needs. We've already identified that because the airport is within the airport overlay zone," said G.I. Regional Planning Director Chad Nabity.

Approval of the change from the Regional Planning Commission came Wednesday night.

"They changed the regulations on that airport overlay to say you could put one tree one shade or three shrubs, or you could substitute three shrubs for the trees," said Nabity.

Those landscape changes still have to be approved by the city council and construction is set to begin on the new terminal about a year from now.