Survey says: More work ahead on airport issues | SierraSun.com

Survey says: More work ahead on airport issues

Christine Stanley

The results of a recent survey that looked at public perceptions of the Truckee Tahoe Airport were presented Wednesday night at a meeting of the Airport’s board.Godbe Research, the private firm hired to conduct the survey, interviewed 400 residents, businesses, and pilots in the sprawling airport district in hopes of uncovering information that would help the airport in redrafting its business plan and vision for the future. “There is a lot of information here and it’s going to take us a while to digest it all,” said board member Steve Swigard. “We’re not going to have it down pat over night.” The results to questions regarding the public’s perception of the airport were largely positive, with many community members stating that they are in favor of the airport and its services. The 21 percent of residents that expressed displeasure with the airport focused their comments mainly on issues of noise and the amount of air traffic. In all, the results could be summed up by saying that Truckee residents want to see managed growth.When asked what they felt the airport could do differently, 38 percent of respondents stated the airport should regulate flight patterns to prevent aircraft from flying over residential areas. Twenty seven percent reported that airport officials should reduce the traffic coming through the airport and 22 percent stated the airport should have a noise or size restriction on the aircraft.In all, only 17 people surveyed said they had ever filed a complaint regarding airport operations.The board is now considering meeting with focus groups to collect more detailed information regarding the issues. Rather than creating focused groups based on specific topics, the board discussed comprising them of those pleased with the airports and those who are unhappy.Approximately 250 residents, businesses, and pilots have opted-in to provide further opinion on this and other subjects the district feels important to probe, according to Godbe.The survey was conducted via random number dialing, which allowed for a more accurate demographic pool of respondents. Both primary and secondary homeowners were surveyed, though information that breaks down the two groups has not yet been released. To get 400 people to complete the survey, Godbe research called somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500.After the presentation, board member Kathleen Eagan expressed her concern that while valuable and enlightening information had been gathered, necessary details are still missing.”There is still a lack of understanding of what exactly ‘community needs’ are,” she said. “There needs to be more clarity.”