At the recent 2012 Florida Planning & Zoning Association Awards, the Page Field General Aviation Terminal Complex project was presented with the 2012 Outstanding Environmental Project Award. This award recognized Lee County Port Authority’s capital improvements in the heart of urban Lee County because of extra effort to make the airfield compatible with the community that has grown around it. Not only does the Page Field Complex have an award-winning appearance, the improvements at Page Field are designed according to the unique and complex safety considerations that are unique to airport properties. An example of this is the landscaping that helps create visual screening for passengers and pedestrians along the roadway which is specially designed to not attract wildlife, particularly birds, which could pose hazards if they come into contact with operating aircraft.

As a General Environmental and Planning Consultant to the Lee County Port Authority, we contributed to the success of Page Field’s recent developments. Our planning team completed the rezoning of the airport property in 2011. Through the rezoning process, we developed airport compatible landscape buffer standards to minimize the use of plant species that attract hazardous wildlife. We also resolved a strategy for reduced buffer plantings in runway protection zones to minimize conflicts with take-off and landing activity, while providing for compensating plantings in safer locations on the property. The lakes at Page Field are another feature that required special consideration to minimize wildlife attraction. While the lakes are attractive to the human eye, they are not attractive to wading birds because the lake banks are steeper than normal and lined with rip rap. Trees that are found on the airport-compatible landscape list we developed for the Port Authority, are provided around the lakes to enhance their appearance, another consideration in the rezoning approval. Development on airport property is a complex business, and even more so when the airport is located in the heart of an urban area. The 2012 Outstanding Environmental Project Award recognizes the work at Page Field as a job well done.

For more information contact Laura DeJohn, AICP at [email protected].