Team keeps eye on airport impacts on the community
January 30, 2006
The Airport Community Advisory Team was created in April 2005 by the Truckee Tahoe Airport District Board of Directors to explore the various community concerns, both current and future, resulting from airport operations.Key issues are noise, land use and airport growth. The ACAT’s mission is to examine various means to enable the district to mitigate negative impacts of the airport on the community, while continuing to operate a general aviation airport that serves the needs of the community. Final recommendations will be presented to the airport board for implementation. This is the first in a series of articles to explain issues surrounding the airport. Future articles will cover such subjects as noise and its impact on the surrounding community, the role of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and possible mitigation solutions, among others. All articles and additional background information will appear on the ACAT’s Web page at http://www.truckeetahoeairport.com/acat.htm. Why create the ACAT?The airport board has been concerned for some time with the impact of airport operations on the community. A predecessor to the ACAT, called the Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC), was formed several years ago. This group tended to focus on problems arising with the more immediate neighbors of the airport, and identified a number of steps that could be taken to reduce the impacts without curtailing airport operation. Many of these have already been implemented, and some impacts have been lessened, although not eliminated. How does the ACAT work?ACAT consists of eight private citizens, four pilots and four non-pilots, appointed by the airport board. Meetings are held twice each month, and are consistent with the California open meeting laws (otherwise known as the Brown Act), with published agendas and minutes. All meetings are open to the public, with opportunity for public comment. In addition, various sub-groups meet frequently to conduct various work activities, with results presented to the full team for further action or adoption. A detailed work plan has been prepared and approved by the airport board (available on the Web site), which includes the following key elements: 1. Investigating stakeholder concern: Who are the various stakeholders, what are their concerns, and how are they prioritized relative to the overall vision statement of the airport; 2. Devising solutions: Identify, evaluate and prioritize practical solutions to mitigate impacts on the surrounding community;3. Achieving performance: Develop cooperative, incentive-based programs to achieve compliance to recommended solutions;4. Managing expectations: Develop programs for creating an ongoing, cooperative and constructive relationship between the airport and its neighbors. And,5. Measuring success: Identify a clear methodology and metrics for measuring the success of any solution, compliance program and public relations effort.The airport board has approved a budget for the current year of $293,000 for the ACAT effort, which does not include the anticipated costs for media expenses, outreach efforts and possible capital facilities that may arise from ACAT recommendations. The ACAT is scheduled to sunset in September 2006.What does the ACAT hope to achieve?The problems that arise between a general aviation airport and the community that surrounds it is not unique to our region. What is unique is the opportunity we now have for the local aviation community and the community-at-large to cooperatively work together to find solutions to these problems. Regardless of the individual recommendations the ACAT may ultimately offer, the overall goal of the ACAT is to elevate the level of discussion and framing of the issues in such a way that we all work together to the benefit of all.ACAT members are Bruce Eisenhard, Sandra Korth, Bill Kraus, Rob Lober, Don McCormack, George Moore, Bill Quesnel and Tom Van Berkum.