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80 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations Smaller General Aviation Airport--Ohio State University Airport (OSU) Noise Management. Accessed 10/3/2007 (125) Ohio State University Airport (OSU) was selected for this case study because it is a small gen- eral aviation airport whose functions have changed over time, from primarily a training facility for the University to serving a broader general aviation base. The University was unprepared for public controversy arising from its preparation of an airport master plan and the associated development of a runway. The planned airfield improvements generated negative public reac- tion, particularly from one area of the community. The airport initiated a Part 150 study update and other measures to improve communications with the public regarding airport noise issues. Its experiences are particularly relevant to smaller airports that anticipate changes in their mis- sions, airfield improvements, or an increased volume of flights. The OSU serves an estimated 100,000 operations per year, including corporate activity, stu- dent training, and pleasure flying. The OSU Department of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Gas Turbine Laboratory, several facilities operated by the OSU College of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Transportation's Office of Aviation, 14 corporate flight departments, and four flying clubs are based at the airport. The airport is the base to 230 aircraft, including single- and multi-engine piston, turboprop, and jet engine aircraft and helicopters. It is a designated general aviation reliever for Port Columbus International Airport. The airport was opened in 1943 as a flight training facility for military and civilian pilots, operated by the OSU School of Aviation. It now operates as a self-supporting entity of the uni- versity through the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation. The Department over- sees all aspects of the airport from airport management, to fixed base operations, to airport maintenance. The 500 acre airport is located 6 miles northwest of Columbus, Ohio, in a mostly residential suburban area. Adjacent uses are primarily single family residential with a cluster of apartments and commercial to the southwest and suburban retail to the northwest. Worthington, the com- munity with the most organized concerns about the airport, is approximately two miles to the northeast of the airport. Brief History of Noise Abatement In 2004 OSU prepared a Master Plan and forecast of aviation activity to address airfield and airport development issues. The Master Plan analysis identified the north airfield as the location for corporate hangar development and determined that the northern runway should be extended to accommodate this development. The development would likely have shifted business jet oper- ations to the north runway, resulting in overflights of areas not previously so affected. The air- port initiated an Environmental Assessment. During the preparation of the Environmental Assessment, community opposition became vocal about the proposed development and probable aircraft overflights. In response, the air- port hired a noise/public outreach person and installed a flight monitoring system. The aircraft tracking system became fully operational in the fall of 2006. The airport also initiated an update to the 1990 Part 150 Noise Compatibility Program, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008. Interview Results The interviewees for this case study were selected to include the primary people responsible for management and communication of the noise abatement program and representation of for- mal community advisory and other groups. Although OSU completed the on-line survey in the

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Case Studies in Airport/Stakeholder Communication 81 summer of 2007, they were not selected for the original fall 2007 follow-up interviews. For the spring 2008 in-depth case study interviews, the following individuals were interviewed: Airport Director, Ohio State University Airport. External Relations Director, Ohio State University Airport. Chair, OSU Airport Advisory Committee. President, Northwest Civic Association. Key Issues. In determining the particular lessons that evolved from this case study, it is impor- tant to identify the factors that influence those lessons. First, the airport is rare in that it is privately owned by a university. Interviewees for this case study reported that before the airport completed its new Master Plan in 2004, there were few voiced concerns in the community about the airport. The airport had no assigned noise staff and the airport manager did all of the community outreach. As part of the early outreach, he invited concerned neighbors in areas immediately surrounding the airport to take part in the writing of the Master Plan based on the neighborhood's position and feasible actions. More than half of the neighbors' concerns were addressed, and the nearby neigh- borhoods and the airport have continued to work together ever since. When the airport began implementing the Master Plan actions new opposition arose, not from abutting neighborhoods that had participated in the planning process, but from another area approximately two miles away, which would potentially be under the flight path of aircraft using the extended runway. The opposition organized, hired an attorney and approached the City Council of Worthington, Ohio. That City also retained counsel. The airport committed to conduct a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study. The airport designed the Part 150 Study committee to include not only other airports in the region and the FAA, but also pilots, councils of government, civic associations, and the opposition group. While the study progresses, the opposition remains organized. The airport estimates that the percentage of the community which is either strongly against or strongly for the airport is prob- ably no more than 10 percent each. One of the primary reasons cited for opposition is the chang- ing role of the airport from solely as a university based flight training airport to an evolving role of broader general aviation services, including operations by business jets. The OSU communications efforts will continue to evolve through the completion and approval of the Part 150 Study. Findings. The interviews allowed the exploration of the particular situation at OSU. The following techniques were drawn from the interviews to include a selection of the primary ideas about communications applicable to this airport. Through experimentations, the Airport iden- tified communications techniques that worked in their situation and techniques that were not successful. Communication Techniques That Worked for OSU When considering strategies for dealing with the community on controversial issues, identify the widest possible group who might be impacted and how they might be involved or addressed. OSU Airport was confronted with unexpected opposition further from the airport than they expected. Involve those groups at the very beginning of a planning process to get buy-in before positions have hardened. At that point, really listening, determining what is feasible to do, and recruit- ing the public to help put those parts of the plan together can build long-term relationships. This technique was effective for nearby neighborhoods. Get professional help with communications even if the airport is small, if there are plans for any change in the configuration of the airport, or if there are any changes in land use within 5 or more miles of the airport under the primary flight paths. OSU Airport found the level of community reaction was very high and the controversy caught them off guard.