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Some Paulding residents take issue with lack of transparency
by Tom Spigolon
April 10, 2014 10:54 AM | 3160 views | 2 2 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Staff / Samantha M. Shal) Dallas resident Jan Louie feeds Dharma, her palomino quarter horse, and Febe, a chocolate mini horse, in the pasture behind her home.
(Staff / Samantha M. Shal) Dallas resident Jan Louie feeds Dharma, her palomino quarter horse, and Febe, a chocolate mini horse, in the pasture behind her home.
Jan Louie moved from bustling Decatur to rural Paulding in 2005 for the peace and quiet. So did Anthony Avery after moving from Fayette County in 2007.

Both received a shock in October when they heard of plans for passenger flights at Silver Comet Field airport.

Louie said she decided to become involved in legal proceedings, including seeking a new federal environmental review of the airport’s plans, because of the need to help residents whose lives will be affected by airport expansion.

“Sometimes you’re just faced with things you have to do something about,” she said.

Avery moved to a site about seven miles from the airport in 2007 after a 27-year career as a firefighter. He said he soon saw what he felt was the need to monitor the county government closely after a series of proposed property tax increases, including one approved in 2010.

In late 2012, Avery watched the county airport authority vote to approve a lease with the company proposing to establish passenger flights at the facility. He said he believed the project, dubbed “Silver Comet” by officials, concerned the Silver Comet Trail walking path.

He said he “jumped on” the chance to join in a legal proceeding to stop a court’s approval of a bond issue for runway and taxiway work.

“I had no qualms about it,” he said. “That’s all a part of doing right.”

Avery and Louie agreed the airport authority was not as transparent as it should have been about the lease with Silver Comet Partners, whose plans for development of surrounding land for aerospace-related companies included recruitment of a passenger airline. Louie said she and her husband, Jordan, searched for more than a year to find enough land for their home and a horse. They subsequently dealt with a public entity using eminent domain rights to place power lines on their property, and contended with talk of a toll superhighway through the area.

The couple now operates a graphic design studio in their home, which adjoins the Silver Comet Trail about five miles from the airport on Rockmart Highway. “Blood, sweat and tears went into this,” she said of finding a site for her home. “[Proposed jet service] is really upsetting to me.”

Louie said she favored job creation in Paulding but not through the use of passenger jets and what she said would be its accompanying pollution and noise.

“We definitely want more jobs and whatever they can do to get that done,” Louie said. “All that’s coming with big airlines, we don’t need that.”

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