As the liaison to the Airport Advisory Board, I would like to personally invite you, the residents and business-owners of our community, to come learn more about our airport and to provide suggestions on how to make it even better.
We have just received the initial recommendations from our industry experts, and would like to share them with our residents. Please join us for an open house on Thursday, September 29th between the hours of 4 and 8 PM (drop in any time) at the Parks Administration Building located at 7 South Sunset Street across from Izaak Walton Pond.
Much of the discussion about the airport has revolved around the issue of noise, and the impact that it has on surrounding neighborhoods. Although the airport master plan update deals with the airport’s physical resources and needed improvements, our community has decided to update the voluntary noise abatement procedure at the same time. Although being considered simultaneously, these are two separate issues. Staff will be on hand to discuss this new procedure and take comments on it as well as the master plan update. We take this problem just as seriously as the safety and economic vitality of the airport, and are looking for ways to work more closely with residents and airport users to solve this problem.
Some residents have expressed concern that the proposed extended runway will allow bigger, noisier planes to land or will literally pave the way for a much larger airport. Regardless of the length of the runway, larger aircraft will still not be able to land at Vance Brand because of the thickness of the runway; it is not built to withstand large aircraft. Increasing the size of the airport is not only unnecessary; it is also impossible as it is bounded on all sides. Vance Brand will remain a small general aviation airport.
Others have suggested that we relocate the airport or even shut it down. Neither of these suggestions is feasible. Failing to provide the services that are expected by the Federal Aviation Administration, either by moving locations or shutting down, would necessitate reimbursement of millions of dollars. These options are not within the realm of possibility, and will therefore not be discussed during the master plan process.
Vance Brand Airport could be “the best LITTLE airport on the Front Range,” but that can only happen with the right mix of industry expertise, together with common-sense solutions provided by citizens.
(Submitted to the Longmont Examiner with permission for reprint)