Friday, October 15, 2004
Citizens noisy over airport
Committee seeks to include all viewpoints over expansion of Livermore facility
By Mike White
The Tri-Valley (CA) Herald
LIVERMORE — The committee seeking to make recommendations on expanding the Livermore Municipal Airport has agreed on ways to express both majority and minority viewpoints, as well as opinions somewhere in between. Members of the 21-person committee will each fill out a questionnaire at the end of the group’s work. On the sheet, they will be able to say how they feel about the changes called for in the airport master plan — whether they agree, disagree or have no opinion.
Members also will have space to write down any measures they think should be taken before the changes are enacted. For example, some committee members have said the plan needs additional environmental reviews.
The committee agreed to the format during its fourth meeting Wednesday night. Previously, committee members discussed forming majority and minority opinions, but the new format is seen as a way to express a greater depth of opinions on the airport’s expansion.
“This is going to be as comprehensive as we can get,” said airport manager Leander Hauri.
The committee also scheduled an additional meeting. On Saturday, Nov. 6, committee members will gather from 9 a.m. to noon at the Doubletree Club Hotel, 720 Las Flores Road, Livermore.
The meeting will offer airport staff and committee members additional time to discuss the detailed reports provided by consultants. The previously scheduled meetings on Nov. 10 and Dec. 1 will go ahead as planned.
The committee was created by city officials after residents in Livermore and neighboring cities objected to the expansion. The proposed master plan calls for expanding the shorter of two runways and constructing new hangars, and envisions the number of flights climbing from 257,500 in 2001 to 370,000 by 2020. Officials and pilots say the plan would create a safer airport, while residents say the plan would create significant increases in jet traffic.
The majority of speakers on Wednesday night were critical of the airport plan, committee members said.
Speakers said no one has thus far indicated how to deal with the additional noise that will be created, said committee member Purnam Sheth, who lives near the airport. Speakers also wondered whether the changes would promote additional air traffic, or if the traffic would come regardless of the city’s actions.
One resident played a recorded sound of a jet at a level equal to what some residents hear, said committee member David Froio, a Dublin resident.
Participants agreed that the committee itself continues to be polarized into two unique camps — one that is pro-expansion and one that is pro-quality of life, Froio said.
The committee is expected to make recommendations to the City Council by the end of the year.