Customs facility at Witham Field OK'd

Martin County is now set to get a U.S. Customs facility at Witham Field.

The group supporting the proposed facility says the vote passed 3 to 2 by the Martin County Commission Tuesday. 

Once the bidding process is complete, the facility is expected to be open and operational in a year to a year and a half. 

The office would service people traveling into the airport and surrounding marinas.  

Currently when planes return to the airport from outside the country, they must pass customs in Palm Beach County or Fort Pierce.  

The feasibility reports presented by supporters project the customs facility will have a quarter-million dollars in profits over its first three years of operation. 

The new customs office has its share of critics. Opponents fear it could mean extra costs or noise.

The Martin Marine-Aviation Alliance has offered to donate $50,000 a year for three years to offset any operating shortfalls that could arise. 

The Airport Noise Advisory Committee, or ANAC, is working with the FAA to mitigate neighborhood noise.