Public asked to help pilot future of Truckee Tahoe Airport |

Public asked to help pilot future of Truckee Tahoe Airport

A plane takes off at Truckee Tahoe Airport.
File photo |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A series of community workshops is set to take off this weekend, allowing residents, second homeowners, pilots and others a chance to help officials complete an updated Truckee Tahoe Airport master plan.

“We’re trying to hear the whole spectrum, as compared to one frequency,” said Mary Hetherington, president of the Truckee Tahoe Airport District board of directors.

The goal of public outreach can be categorized in three ways, said Kevin Smith, airport district general manager: helping the airport understand how to serve the community in the future, looking for the best ideas on how to spend taxpayer dollars, and getting input on what the airport should and should not be in the future.

“The airport should be a mirror of the community it serves,” he said.

Some ideas already on the table include looking into the possibility of adding more hangers, lengthening one runway and/or widening the other, putting in a perimeter road, providing land for nonprofit use, creating a joint air museum and library, concentrating or dispersion of flight paths and providing recreational amenities such as trails among others.

“It’s a very open process,” Smith said. “We’re not smarter than everybody here, so we captured and tried to frame some issues, but what else is there that we missed?”

Jessica Fay, an airport tenant and member of the Truckee Tahoe Airport Outreach Committee, said she’s looking at the bigger picture for the airport’s future, rather than the smaller details.

“We (she and her husband, Jeff) just want to see a good, functional airport that’s a good resource for pilots who live here, those who fly here and benefit the whole community, she said.

Fay added that she is “impressed” with the amount of outreach the airport district is doing for the master plan.

Community outreach is expected to last until June, at which point, information obtained will be used to identify future needs, alternatives for accommodating those needs and plan documentation, according to the district.

“We’re looking for win-wins,” Hetherington said. “Win-wins for aviation, win-wins for the neighborhoods.”

In mid to late summer, a draft master plan will be released, with a six-week review/public comment period, Smith said. Afterward, in late fall, the airport board will create and agree on a final draft master plan, a process that’s likely to go into 2014, he said.

The district will then prepare an environmental document in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that would lead to the plan’s final approval, according to the district.

The lifespan of an airport master plan is between 10 and 15 years, with the current plan having been created in 1998.

“It’s not designed to be put on a shelf,” Smith said. “If it’s put on a shelf, and not thought about, it’s what we have now. It’s completely obsolete and inconsistent with who we want to be and what we are.”

The cost to develop an airport master plan is approximately $350,000, which doesn’t include the cost of CEQA, Smith said. Funding the plan is airport revenue, primarily property tax revenue, and money received from the Nevada County Transportation Commission, he said.

Community workshops

Following is a list of community workshops on the airport master plan. Each meeting will be run the same, allowing residents to walk around to various displays and talk with an official at each station.

Saturday, April 13, 2-5 p.m. — Truckee Tahoe Airport

Tuesday, April 16, 6-8 p.m. — Tahoe Donner Clubhouse, Truckee

Wednesday, April 17, 5-7 p.m. — Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee

Thursday, April 18, 6-8 p.m. — Glenshire Clubhouse, Truckee

Tuesday, April 23, 5-7 p.m. — Cedar House, Truckee

Wednesday, April 24, 5-7 p.m. — North Tahoe Event Center, Kings Beach

Thursday, April 25, 5-7 p.m. — Tahoe City Public Utility District board room, Tahoe City

A separate pilot workshop will take place Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at the airport.

Other ways to comment: Input can be submitted through; by attending a Truckee Tahoe Airport District board meeting, which start at 9 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month; or by contacting Smith at 530-587-4119, ext. 105, or

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