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Briscoe Field Privatization Plan Voted Down

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners essentially killed all plans to privatize the Lawrenceville, Ga. airport at their first meeting since the resignation of Shirley Lasseter.

Years of heated debate from both sides came to an end with one word-- "Aye."

On Tuesday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to reject plans to privatize Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville.

The crowd of mostly expansion opponents wearing red shirts broke out in cheers and applause after the vote was cast.

"The effects of this airport expansion would not only be bore by the people of Lawrenceville, but also the folks in District 3 in Dacula would certainly be affected," said District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau as he explained his vote.

Beaudreau said he would now like to look at some of the on how to more effectively and efficiently use the airport. “Right now, we have an asset that I think virtually everyone in this room would agree—maybe the only thing everyone would agree on,” Beaudreau said somewhat jokingly, “that this airport could be used better.”

“I think that no matter what happens with the vote today, that it really made us all aware that we really have an asset in this county that is being underutilized and is not to standard,” said District 2 Commissioner Lynette Thompson when explaining her vote. “Whether you were for it or against commercialization, I don’t think that there’s anybody that can dispute that there are things that we can do better for our airport.”

Immediately after the vote, an item was added to the agenda. The addition was to remove Gwinnett County’s application from the Federal Aviation Authority’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program and to terminate the potential privatization process. The commissioners also passed that item unanimously.

There were a few expansion supporters in the crowd. After the vote, they addressed the commissioners and said they were disgusted with the process and wished the privatization issue could have gone to a public vote.

On Monday, Propeller CEOP Brett Smith asked the Commissioners to until all the commissioners’ seats were filled. Former District 1 Commissioner following pleading guilty to federal bribery charges. Commissioner Chairman Charlotte Nash said an before the term expires on December 31st.

Do you agree with the Board of Commissioners' decision? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Jan H. Overton June 05, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Finally some sanity in this process. For Brett Smith to say this needed to be "a more open process" is just plain stupid.... .what planet has he been on for the past 2 years? Thanks to Charlotte Nash and John Heard for their support from the beginning. We appreciate your vote. Jan H. Overton Lawrenceville, GA
TC June 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Hopefully this is buried forever! I've lived in Gwinnett for 31 years and would have left if a 10 gate airport went in my front yard! Now on to cleaning out the BOC since we found out votes for this airport were up for sale. Thanks to Charlotte Nash and John Heard for showing integrity in this matter. Dacula Resident
john eden June 05, 2012 at 11:54 PM
In 1954 when I was 3 years old, Scott Hudgens built my parents first house 1 mile west of the Atlanta Airport in College Park. At that time, Atlanta Airport had one propeller plane landing strip that ran north to south; passenger jets did not exist. In the mid 1960's a west to east runway was built to accomodate the new large low flying passenger jets. The sound waves created by the jet engines passing overhead made the windows in the house rattle and caused cracks in the drywall. Whenever I talked on the phone, I had to say "jet" so that the person I was talking with would know I couldn't hear what they were saying. Sleep was almost impossible because of the noise made by 24 hour jet landings and takeoffs. Original home owners began moving out of the neighborhood, but unable to sell their houses because of the noise, had to rent them. Eventually, the neighborhood became blighted. Using federal funds, the City of Atlanta bought the houses at prices Atlanta determined to be fair values; however, the devaluation of house values caused by the airport noise was not considered in the buyout price. My parents were given $55,000 for their house in 1984 when the exact same house around Northlake Mall was selling for $125,000. Home owners in Dacula have no idea how lucky they are that the privatization and expansion of the Gwinnett County Airport was defeated.
TC June 06, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Some of us do realize how close we came to loosing everything; our homes, our lifestyle and our health. This certainly changes how I'll vote on July 31.

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