Several corporations have jets stationed at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee. 
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

As questions linger, city postpones vote on PDK airport hangars

It could take at least another month for DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to get the green light on design plans for eight new corporate hangars, as questions and concerns from nearby residents remain.

Several neighbors in Chamblee and Brookhaven have expressed worries that noise and pollution from airplanes will grow as the airport predicts a rise in the number of aircraft flying in and out over the next 20 years.

» READ MORE: PDK airport growth a growing concern for nearby residents

At a meeting Tuesday night, the Chamblee City Council voted to defer a decision on whether to approve design plans for the eight hangars until next month’s work session and meeting. The airport, more commonly known by its FAA abbreviation “PDK,” had to go through the city for the plans, since it hopes to skirt certain design rules for security purposes.

City officials said there are still some details in the design plans that need to be ironed out. The extra month will also give the airport more time to communicate with residents about the proposed hangars before the potential vote in mid-July, city leaders said.

Channel 2's Berndt Petersen learned the state's second busiest airport expects a 37 percent increase in traffic in next 20 years.

“I think the nature of the conversations are still kind of being hashed out, so aren’t quite ready for the public eye yet,” said Councilman Tom Hogan, who represents the areas surrounding the airport.

Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson clarified that the airport does not need the city’s permission to build the hangars, and the City Council is only voting whether to approve certain details regarding the look of the hangars near Clairmont Road. 

“While I know this is a very emotional issue for a lot of people ... they are entitled to build hangars,”  Clarkson said after the meeting.

Discussions about the airport have put the city in a somewhat tricky spot, since PDK is owned and managed by DeKalb County and subject to FAA regulations.

“It puts our elected officials, particularly our council members ... in a bit of a bind,” Clarkson said.

PDK hopes to build eight corporate jet hangars on a 19.2-acre plot near Chamblee’s border with Brookhaven. News of the potential hangars has frustrated some neighbors who said they are already bothered by noise coming from the state’s second busiest airport, and are worried about a possible increase in air pollution.

The mayor has experienced some of this firsthand. 

“I’m not saying that they’re not loud. They fly over my house sometimes. The helicopters are the worst,” he said, clarifying that he “knew I was living next to an airport.”

Residents still have questions about the hangars, since news about the plans was only widely shared in the last several weeks. 

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: As DeKalb airport eyes growth, residents on edge over noise, pollution

Jordan Fox, a Chamblee resident who sits on the Citizen Advisory Committee for PDK’s master plan, wrote in an email to county officials Sunday that “in all my years involved in PDK activities I have never gotten so many questions/concerns about something.” He suggested the airport put out a “Frequently Asked Questions” about the hangars to curb misinformation and communicate better with residents.

With airport officials predicting a 37 percent increase in flights to and from the airport in the next 20 years, they have not indicated that the airport’s growth will slow down.

PDK also estimates it would cut down nearly 260 trees to make space for the hangars. To make up for that, it plans to plant more than 1,000 trees on airport grounds.

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In other news:

The DeKalb County worksource program has been under fire in the past for misspending. Channel 2's Sophia Choi spoke with the new director.

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