Airport meeting with affected neighborhoods | SierraSun.com

Airport meeting with affected neighborhoods

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun file photoThe Tahoe Truckee Airport is seeking a dialogue with area residents who have been affected by noise and other impacts of the airport's operations.

The Truckee Tahoe Airport is looking for advice from the neighborhoods most affected by local air traffic.

A series of meetings with the Airport Community Advisory Team is focused on specific communities in the Truckee area that are the most impacted by airport operations including noise.

“Having these two-way conversations is important,” said Tom Van Berkem, chair of the Airport Community Advisory Team. “We had meetings a couple years ago with the whole area mixed, and we found that many of the problems are unique to where people live. For example, I live in Northstar, and it’s rare that we are affected by a takeoff, but if somebody is landing wrong it’s very important.”

By contrast, residents of such communities as Prosser Heights or Olympic Heights may be more bothered by noisy landings than takeoffs, while Sierra Meadows residents may be more affected by training flights or glider tow-planes, Van Berkem said.

The meetings will also allow the airport to hear from people who may not participate actively with the airport, said Kevin Bumen, the airport’s head of noise and business operations.

“We can also reach out to those who may not call us regularly,” Bumen said. “We can hear from the silent majority.”

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So far, the advisory panel has met with residents of the Olympic Heights neighborhood off Glenshire Drive.

“Olympic Heights was our first one and by definition the most, or second-most impacted neighborhood by the airport,” Van Berkem said. “Not surprisingly, there was a lot of concern about noise, but also very helpful was the level of concern about safety and the size of airplanes.”

By seeking out and listening to comments from residents in different communities, the advisory team can take that information, present it to the airport district board, and prioritize different solutions, he said.

“We have a multi-project plan in place now, and these meetings will help us fine-tune what is important,” Van Berkem said. “For example, one item on our plate that may move to the top is a monitoring system to see where airplanes are flying ” if they aren’t following noise abatement procedures we could talk to the pilot and see if we can’t prevent that from happening again.”

Van Berkem urged residents of the affected communities to attend their respective neighborhood meetings.

“The bigger the percentage of people who show up, the better represented their community,” he said.