Chatham Will Not Contest FAA Report

CHATHAM – Conclusions reached in a Federal Aviation Administration safety investigation will not be challenged by the Chatham board of selectmen.

The FAA decided that the town’s airport was safe for sky diving and that it must be allowed.

The board’s announcement was made Monday night after related litigation was discussed during a closed-door session.

Chairman Cory Metters explained the decision by reading a prepared statement at the regular meeting that followed.

“The time has come to conclude the costly and time consuming litigation spawned by the sky diving disputes as quickly and effectively as possible. We believe that limited town funds should be dedicated to other endeavors that are in the public interest,” he said.

Regarding the lawsuit brought by the airport’s neighbors, he said the town will mount a “vigorous” defense.

The litigant’s arguments include that the airport is too small, has several obstructions, and has become much noisier due to the many additional flights and the screams and vulgarities that many of the divers engage in.

Metters added that the town will now work to increase safety. “It is time to move forward and put this much debated and litigated dispute behind us. We will work in conjunction with federal and state authorities to maintain and improve the efficiency and safety of all activities at the airport.”

Even though the FAA concluded that most of the activities they investigated were not high risk, they said that better communication between the flight training and sky diving companies needs to be worked on.

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