OWLS HEAD, Maine — The Knox County Regional Airport has begun the process of getting easements from neighboring property owners to cut trees to keep clear paths for aircraft.
Airport Manager Jeff Northgraves said Thursday that offers have been made to the 13 people who own 15 properties along Buttermilk Lane in South Thomaston where easements are needed to cut trees.
The Federal Aviation Administration has encouraged the airport for several years to do a study to determine the amount of easements needed, Northgraves said. Last year, the study was done and the parcels were identified.
Airport officials have met with the property owners and the offers were made during the past month. The property owners have 30 days to accept the amount of money offered or to make a counteroffer.
The earliest any cutting likely would occur, Northgraves said, is December 2013. He said the cutting would be done in the winter when the ground is solid.
The FAA will pay for 90 percent of the costs with the state transportation department and county evenly splitting the remaining costs. He said there is no estimate yet on the cost of the overall project.
The last time the airport went through obtaining tree cutting easements was in the late 1990s.
The county airport encompasses 538 acres in Owls Head and South Thomaston.
The airport also will be seeking grant money to build a fence around the airport to keep animals off the runway, he said.