Friday, July 16, 2004
Solutions sought over airport expansion
Committee meetings will continue through December to address noise, master plan
By Mike White
The Tri-Valley (CA) Herald
LIVERMORE — A committee has begun its mission of finding a compromise in the expansion of Livermore Municipal Airport, although not everyone is satisfied with the group’s makeup. The advisory group, which was created by Livermore after an uproar over plans to increase flights from 257,500 in 2001 to 370,000 by 2020, started in a positive fashion, said Leander Hauri, airport manager. The board will meet about once a month until the end of the year, when it will present recommendations to the city.
“We will continue with the education process in a fair and reasonable manner,” Hauri said.
The group agreed on issues of key concern, including noise. The group also is interested in learning why officials are revising the airport’s master plan.
Some members, including Jennifer Hosterman, a Pleasanton City Council member, raised concerns about the makeup of the committee. They were following up on issues raised earlier by Livermore resident Hollend Bishop, who was denied a position on the committee.
Bishop had called committee members to question why at least eight of the 21 members were pilots. Specifically, four of the five “at-large” Livermore residents are pilots, and he questioned why the “at large” group did not include residents with fewer ties to the airport.
The committee appointments were made by the City Council members, and any issues about the makeup of the committee should be directed to them, said Lorraine Dietrich, co-chair of the committee. She also is a Livermore City Council member. Before the meeting, Dietrich said those appointed to the committee were the best qualified.
“I think the council did a poor job of selecting the candidates,” said Bishop, who lives near the airport. He said the committee should include more people who live near the airport.
David Froio, a Dublin resident and com- mittee member, said the news about the many pilots on the committee “struck people the wrong way.” He was concerned, too, but did not speak on this issue during the meeting. “I feel that if an issue is already on the table, not everybody has to say the same thing,” he said.
Froio was one of 20 committee members who attended the inaugural meeting Wednesday at the Doubletree Club Hotel in Livermore. One was absent; given the group’s large makeup and once-a-month meetings until the end of the year, officials expect they will often have absent committee members.
About 25 other Valley residents attended, fewer than anticipated. The airport issue has drawn intense debate throughout the Valley because planes fly over homes in Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. Hundreds of people attended previous meetings on the subject, so officials put out about 200 seats for the first meeting committee.