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Officials approve White Bear Township airport

The White Bear Township Board approved for the Benson airport to expand on September 15, with a conditional-use permit, the Pioneer Press reported.

The permit allows the airport to store 42 planes, limits the use of louder aircrafts and does not allow helicopters. Pilots may fly from sunrise until 30 minutes after the sun goes down.

The private airport was built in 1945 by John Benson in an area that at the time was quite rural. Since then, the area has seen an increase residentially. When Benson died in 1993, White Bear Township aquired the property.

The township built a water tower on one part of the land and plans to build a park on another part.

The board's vote includes letting The Benson Airport Association replace two hangers and and build five more. No decisions have been made for when the building will begin.

Neighbors worry about the increase in noise in their neighborhood, along with safety.

"There are times when you just hit the floor — you're terrified," Nanci Stoddard, a neighbor of the airport, told the Pioneer Press.

Board Members are taking these fears into consideration as they begin planning.

"We've been at this for quite a few months," Dick Sand, a member of the board, told the Pioneer Press. "What we're still working on is the actual airport operations: how the flights are going to be conducted and how people are going to fly in and out of there. We set that aside for further discussion."