Noise Abatement, Master Plan Information
Noise is a significant issue for almost any airport manager. The master plan update will look at the current noise footprint to determine any areas of the community that fall within the 65 DNL (day/night average) decibel corridor, which is the standard the FAA uses for measuring airport noise. The master plan is not a Title 14 CFR Part 150 Noise Compatibility study. The Part 150 is normally used for airports that have significant amounts of development within the 65 DNL corridor and/or significant incompatible land use around the airport. A master plan process can sometimes result in the recommendation of a Part 150 study.
Link to Longmont Airport Noise procedures
Elements of the Master Plan:
- Consultant Selection and Scoping: this phase includes selection of a consultant to conduct the noise study, a process which is determined by the FAA.
- Environmental overview: environmental issues are looked at from a "big picture" level. Included in this is a look at the airport's noise footprint. In most circumstances, the environmental review does not reach the level of an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement. The master plan does so some assessment to determine if future development alternatives may require higher levels of environmental review such as an EA or EIS. But, since the master plan is just a plan, a look at potential projects, it would not be a good use of money, time and resources to conduct full EA's or EIS's until a project is actually approved to move forward. Also, the noise footprint is assessed, but not to the extent of a full Title 14 CFR Part 150 Noise Compatibility Plan
- Public Information: public information programs are developed to both put information out to the public and receive feedback.
- Inventory (aka Existing Conditions): the airport's current status is inventoried, including number of flights (known as operations), aircraft types, based and itinerant aircraft operations, facilities and infrastructure.
- Forecasts: future traffic for the airport is forecasted using a variety of means including the FAA Terminal Area Forecast reports, and several industry references. The FAA must approve the Forecast before moving to the next step in the master plan process. All things being equal, forecasts are generally more accurate than just an educated guess, provided there are no significant "game changers" such as an economic meltdown or another 9/11.
- Facilities Analysis (aka gap analysis): this phase goes by several different names but is best described as a gap analysis – the results of the Existing Conditions are compared with the Forecasts to assess what projects the airport should consider in order to handle any increase in demand.
- Alternatives: alternatives are assessed to provide the airport sponsor with a variety of options.
- The Airport Layout Plan is updated and must be approved by the FAA.
- Facilities and Financial Implementation Plans: A list of possible projects along with a financial analysis is developed. The FAA must approve the master plan process and the master plan itself then goes up for approval by the Longmont City Council. The master plan does not obligate the City Council to any particular course of action, but only provides ways to meet future airport demand along with alternatives.
Throughout the master plan process, working papers are published and made available to the public. Additionally, there will be several open houses (as recommended by the FAA) to provide explanations of the master plan process and proposed projects, and also opportunity to provide commentary via email, snail mail, and through traditional methods in public city council sessions.