Long Beach Airport Growth

Monday, January 3, 2005
Airport growth tops first agenda for Long Beach, Calif., council
The Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The City Council kicks off 2005 with a topic that could be a recurring theme throughout the year: Long Beach Airport growth At a 3 p.m. Tuesday workshop, the council will hear more details on a proposal to expand the airport’s terminal, as well as details of a proposed environmental impact report for the work.

The workshop is the second of two airport study sessions for the council, which will be asked to set the EIR guidelines in February.

Once the council sets the review’s scope, the environmental report is expected to take nine months to complete. The council would then have to decide how much, if at all, the terminal will grow.

Airport staff members will update the council Tuesday on the proposed improvements. Plans range from increasing the terminal space by nearly 100,000 square feet to leaving the terminal as it is.

Airport officials have lobbied for more space to accommodate passengers and safety personnel. But critics have questioned the move, saying a bigger terminal could lead to more flights.

Airport staff members on Tuesday will also answer questions the council had at its first session in November. Those queries included a question about the potential risks that any terminal expansion would have on the city’s ability to preserve its airport noise ordinance that limits daily flights.

Meanwhile, a council committee will hold a special meeting Jan. 13 to get more public comment on the airport’s future.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will seek input on a proposed set of “guiding principles’ that the council will use to help make future airport decisions. The document will cover topics including the environment, health, safety, financial impact and public participation.

A draft version of the list of principles calls for the city to identify and minimize residents’ exposure to toxic pollutants and noise. It also calls for airline users to contribute to airport improvements to limit the city’s liability.

The Jan. 13 meeting will be 3 p.m. at the Miller Family Health Education Center, 3820 Cherry Ave.

At the council’s 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting, Councilman Frank Colonna, whose 3rd District includes most of Long Beach’s shoreline, will request a report on the city’s tsunami preparedness.

Colonna’s move is in response to the earthquake-driven tsunamis that devastated parts of Asia. Colonna will ask for a report to return within 30 days. He will also ask the city to produce a tsunami emergency informational video to air on Charter Communications or be made available to the public.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Rae Gabelich will call for a study session within 60 days for city leaders to discuss the appropriateness of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in the Port of Long Beach.

The issue has drawn critics who question the safety of such a terminal in close proximity to downtown.