Some landowners near Williams Gateway Airport refuse to accept Mesa's plans to keep new homes from sprouting up under flight paths. Several have argued for years that their particular parcels would not jeopardize the airport's future if they were developed into residential neighborhoods.
One of the most persistent landowners, LKY Development, is back before Mesa's Planning and Zoning Board this week arguing its case that homes should be allowed on its land north of Elliot Road between Ellsworth and Signal Butte roads.
The parcel is not in line with the runways at Williams Gateway Airport — but as many East Valley residents know quite well, you don't have to live directly off the runways of Sky Harbor International Airport to be bothered by noise. Flight paths extend several miles in all directions, making noise a fact of life for those who happen to live under them.
Williams Gateway officials just released a new study showing the airport had a $251.4 million economic impact on the region in 2002. That is considerable, but it's peanuts compared to the airport's future economic impact if it is allowed to develop into a major satellite reliever for Sky Harbor. The potential for growth of passenger and freight air traffic is enormous, and will enhance the entire Williams Gateway complex as an employment hub of the East Valley.
Unwise home construction too close to the airport could doom that bright future. Mayor Keno Hawker is to be commended for strongly urging the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board and City Council to resist pressure by homebuilders to amend the city's general plan.