Sunday, December 5, 2004
Study May Take 18 months, Cost $100,000
By Mike White
The Tri-Valley (CA) Herald
LIVERMORE — If the City Council decides to ask for a complete environmental impact report on the Livermore Municipal Airport, those on both sides of the issue say they will follow the process closely. Airport supporters say the report, at an estimated cost of up to $100,000, would be redundant and would waste valuable resources and time. Those critical of planned airport upgrades, however, said the report would outline the noise problems they say the expansion would create.
The latest call for a full-blown environmental report was made last week by the 21-member airport advisory committee, which has studied the proposed airport master plan since July. The majority recommendation for an environmental report was part of a package of opinions that will be forwarded to the City Council, which will tackle the issue Jan. 31.
The master plan calls for expanding the shorter of two runways and constructing new hangars. The plan envisions the number of flights climbing from 257,500 in 2001 to 370,000 by 2020.
The call for an environmental impact report echoes comments previously made by officials from Dublin and Pleasanton. Pleasanton officials have threatened to go to court if environmental issues aren’t addressed.
After listening to more than 20 hours of consultant presentations, the committee came to a similar conclusion, with members saying the report would do a better job of analyzing impacts to those living in Pleasanton and Dublin as well as those living in Livermore.
Wendy Weathers, a committee member, said that if the city goes ahead with the report, it should ask those who prepare it to look more closely at noise issues. The result, she said, probably would be a recommendation to start a noise monitoring program.
If the report does not do a better job of examining noise issues, the city will face opposition from thousands of people in the area, said Weathers, who lives just east of the airport. Meanwhile, many pilots believe the report would be a waste of money and time, said Leander Hauri, airport manager.
“The initial (environmental) study showed that the impacts can be reduced to less than significant,” Hauri said.
The airport has spent $170,000 on that first environmental study and other documents as part of the master plan update process, he said. The city’s airport consultant has said a more comprehensive environmental report would cost between $50,000 and $100,000. The report could take a year to 18 months to complete.
“Will noise be a part of the report? No doubt about it. We will basically go back to square one and unroll the carpet again,” he said.