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County Hearing on Airport Draws Large Crowd

Foes of Briscoe Field privatization also turn out for hearing with consultants.

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners had a lot of company Tuesday morning in Lawrenceville for a public hearing on possible privatization of Briscoe Field.

Citizens wearing red -- signifying their opposition to privatization -- also were in the room with commissioners and consultants from IMG, the company hired to help the county with the potential privatization of the county-owned airport.

Commissioner Charlotte Nash told the crowd that it was not a public hearing or a question-answer session.

The potential of commercial passenger service -- and takeoffs and landings at odd hours -- came up quickly Tuesday.

IMG official Steve Steckler noted that airports receiving federal assistance are obligated to accept such passenger service. But he also noted that the local governing body would retain authority "to keep from shoving (commercial) air service down the community's throat."

IMG officials noted that John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. -- located in the midst of residential areas -- has curfews on takeoffs and landings. District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau then requested more information on the curfew there.

Also, Steckler told the hearing that IMG's work in Indianapolis transformed that airport from a "plain brown wrapper" to "a place where people wanted to be."

(Patch will have updates on Tuesday's hearing.)


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