Saturday, June 23, 2007
Airport faceoff expected Monday
Livermore City Council to discuss controversial expansion plans
By Chris Metinko
The Tri-Valley (CA) Herald LIVERMORE – Controversial proposed changes at the Livermore Municipal Airport are expected to be front and center at Monday night’s City Council meeting. The council is expected to discuss myriad airport topics that night, including whether to enter into a contract with a private operator for fueling facilities and construction of new hangars at the airport. Livermore and Pleasanton residents who live near the airport have railed for years against expansion, saying it will only bring more planes, noise and pollution to the area.
“People don’t want any more traffic and noise, ” said Purnam Sheth, a Pleasanton resident and member of Livermore Airport Citizens Group. The group has been sending out fliers this week to try and urge people to show up at Monday’s meeting.
“This is an expansion, and it is not necessary,” said Sheth, adding new hangars will serve as a “jetport,” squeezing out therecreational pilots.
Dan McIntyre, director of public works for Livermore, said the airport improvement plans will not appreciably increase the number of flights in and out. McIntyre said the airport has a waiting list of 200 planes needing hangars, and about 100 of the planes are already stored outdoors at the facility.
He added that over the past seven years, aircraft operations at the airport actually have decreased 35 percent. McIntyre said current activity numbers at the airport are similar to what they were in the mid-1980s – the last time the city added a substantial number of hangars – with about 180,000 aircraft operations annually. The airport houses nearly 500 planes, McIntyre said.
“We’ve looked into this, and the numbers show activity depends on factors other than hangars being built,” McIntyre said, citing the economy as the main factor.
Plans call for expansion of existing services by allowing construction of 38 large T-hangars of 1,500 square feet each and 27 small box hangars of 2,500 square feet each.
In January, the city officially began requesting proposals from prospective operators of the new hangars and fueling facilities at the airport. Proposals were due in March.
That month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the “minimum standards for commercial aeronautical activity” for the airport, which allowed the city to set financial performance levels for businesses at the facility. The decision allowed the city to ask for bids from potential lead business tenants that would take responsibility for airplane fuel sales, which the city controls.
Many opponents of the airport plan said the approval would lead to a future with more and bigger jets, as well as the noise and pollution they bring.
The council will also look into approving a possible airport noise study in conjunction with Pleasanton as well as amending certain airport rules and regulations Monday night.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in its chambers at 3575 Pacific Ave.