Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Longmont's Vance Brand Municipal Airport (KLMO) noise complaints plummet in 2016

Last year, complaints filed with the city about noise from airplanes flying to and from Longmont's Vance Brand Municipal Airport dropped sharply from 2015 totals, according to airport Manager David Slayter.

Slayter said in a written report to the City Council that the 2016 complaint database showed a 712-complaint decrease from a year earlier. The airport recorded 969 complaints filed with the city's Link2Longmont online concerns logging system in 2015, compared to a total of 257 complaints last year.

The total number of people filing those airport-noise complaints also fell, dropping from 90 people in 2015 to 33 people in 2016, Slayter reported.

Slayter and the Airport Advisory Board, which are to present their annual report at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, said all but 15 of last year's noise complaints were directed at planes flown by Mile-Hi Skydiving, one of the airport's tenants.

"Touch-and-go operations generate the majority of non-skydiving complaints, and as in past years the majority of the complaints are received on weekends from May through September, which are the busiest months at the airport," Slayter and the Airport Advisory Board said.

"Generally, flying the pattern at ½ to ¾ of a mile on each side of the runway has been adhered to during less active time periods.

"However, the times where the pattern becomes congested, flying a wider pattern is necessary," the report said. "This is also the case for the larger aircraft that operate in the traffic pattern."

Slayter said in an interview Monday that one possible reason for the drop in complaint numbers is that "there's been a lot of education to the public about what we have control over, and what we don't have control over," when it comes to applicable Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

As for landings, takeoffs, circling and flyovers not related to skydiving, the airport asks pilots using Vance Brand "to be as neighborly as possible, as long as that doesn't significantly interfere with safety," Slayter said.

In their written report to the council, the airport manager and Airport Advisory Board said Slayter has been conducting an "airport outreach program" to discuss residents' concerns about airport operations and that more recently, there have been presentations to local civic organizations.

"The philosophy behind this program is to have the airport be a partner in the community where both negative and positive impacts can be discussed, and whenever possible, mitigated and-or enhanced," the report said.

While it's not mentioned in Slayter's and the Airport Advisory Board's written report, the Colorado Court of Appeals on Dec. 22 sided with Mile-Hi Skydiving after hearing an appeal of a Boulder District Court's May 21, 2015, ruling against Citizens for Quiet Skies and other plaintiffs who had filed a noise lawsuit against the skydiving company.

Slayter, who said 2016 was a "great" year for the facility, also will review activities and accomplishments with the City Council at Tuesday's meeting.

The written report noted that last June, between 3,500 and 4,500 people attended an Airport Expo 2016 hosted by the advisory board and helped by many volunteers — an event the report said drew many comments "that this was one of the best Expos the airport has seen."

The report said 305 aircraft were based at Vance Brand last year and there were 71,491 landings and takeoffs at the airport.

If you go

What: Longmont City Council to hear the Airport Advisory Board and airport manager's annual report about activities and accomplishments at Vance Brand Municipal Airport.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: City Council chambers, Civic Center, 350 Kimbark St.

More information: The full meeting agenda, along with attachments, is available at bit.ly/2kDUxxQ

Source:  http://www.timescall.com

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