Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
Mesquite Metro Airport introduces a new air traffic control tower.
Mesquite is one step closer to getting a control tower for its airport.
Mesquite Metro Airport is one of the few reliever airports in the area without a tower.
The City Council on Tuesday night approved a zoning ordinance that would allow the tower to go up.
Pilot Chris Witcher, who received his pilot's license Tuesday, has been training in the busy skies without a control tower for a year and half.
"As a new pilot, I think it will make the field much safer," he said. "I know during my training it was kind of scary sometimes, not knowing what everybody else is going to do."
Mesquite Metro gets about 150,000 aircraft going in and out of the airport each year.
"It gets a little chaotic because each pilot is responsible for his own separation here -- not hitting each other," said Jerry Baus, who has been flying corporate jets at the airport for three years. "You know, we have to look and we have to see and report properly."
The City Council changed an agricultural zoning ordinance from agricultural with conditional use for an airport to industrial with conditional use for an airport.
The change was needed because agricultural zoning only allows a building to be approximately 30 to 35 feet tall, and the tower would be about 85 feet.
"It will basically control the traffic in and out of the airport, and somebody won't just be able to fly the pattern however they want," Witcher said. "The control tower will make them adhere to that."
Baus said he thinks more businesses will use the airport because of the tower.
"It will help for the corporations or for the people in instrument conditions to do so safely, and that will draw people in," he said. "It will also draw people in that are transients who have to go across the country that need to stop for fuel."
The estimated $1.8 million project has been in the planning for more than six months.