TRUCKEE, Calif. — The public has resoundingly answered Truckee Tahoe Airport District’s call to help pilot the airport’s future.
In an effort to update its 1998 master plan, the airport district solicited community input by holding eight public workshops in April that 190 people attended and offering an online survey that 311 people took, generating 3,200 comments.
“There’s nothing in here that I think is terribly surprising,” said Seana Doherty, owner of Freshtracks Communications, referring to the themes identified in the community outreach summary report compiled by the firm.
Some favored ideas include accommodating natural growth consistent with aviation and community demand; keeping undeveloped portions of airport property as open space; expanding the hours of the airport restaurant, Red Truckee; and having a flying club to promote the next generation of pilots, Doherty explained to the airport board of directors last Thursday.
The top two concerns voiced by community members were noise and growth — not wanting the airport to grow dramatically. To mitigate noise annoyance, options favored by the community are to discourage night operations, lengthen one of the runways and create a mandatory night curfew.
As far as having flight paths concentrated or dispersed, feedback is split, Doherty said.
Another concern — though not as high as noise and growth — is anti-pilot sentiment, specifically regarding district spending and decision making, she said.
“(The) first priority should be making this the best baby airport ever for aviation,” commented a workshop attendee, according to the report. “It’s fine to acknowledge neighbors’ concerns about noise, but that is way secondary to focusing on airport needs.”
Ideas favored by pilots include developing multi-use hangars, developing box/executive hangars and enhancing facilities, such as de-icing capabilities and the wash rack, among others. Not supported by the pilot community was an air traffic control tower.
“The next challenge is for the board to look at this and say, ‘OK, specifically, what does this mean as far as facilities and aviation,’” Doherty said.
On June 5, the airport board will have a special workshop to review the findings, along with results from a follow-up pilot survey, before its June 27 regular board meeting, where it will provide direction for airport master plan consultant Mead & Hunt to create alternatives for future airport needs.
“It’s not a foundational document for the master plan,” emphasized board member Lisa Wallace, referring to the community outreach summary report. “It’s an important document; it’s a very important tool, but there are other tools that we’re going to need.”
Some of those include Federal Aviation Administration requirements and results from a more scientific public polling process, she said.
A final airport master plan is expected to be adopted in 2014.