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3 Plenary Sessions Plenary Session 1 Airport Context Jackie Sweatt-Essick, Federal Aviation Administration, presenter Panelists Jamie Abbott, Chicago Executive Airport Catherine M. van Heuven, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, LLP Kelly Moulton, Sacramento County Department of Airports Jackie Sweatt-Essick opened the first session by summarizing the role of the FAA and airport operators in land use planning. She noted that the FAA is currently working on revisions to the Advisory Circular on height zoning around airports and working with the American Planning Association (APA) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that have a role in land use planning around airports. Sweatt-Essick then introduced the session panelists. She asked each panel member to provide their perspective on land use. Jamie Abbott noted that airport operators typically are in one of two modes, given the maturity of the airport: reactive mode to conditions, or preventive mode (preventing conflicts). He has found that airport representatives spend a lot of time educating community leaders about land use issues, such as the effects of cranes or tall buildings on aircraft operation. Abbot also remarked on the importance of being clear about safety requirements and their meaning. Often neither airport operators nor communities have enough staff to address land use issues. Catherine van Heuven added a similar comment, remarking that attorneys spend time educating involved parties about what can and cannot be done from the airport operatorâs perspective (such as grant assurances). She elaborated that educating parties is cyclical: when there is a change in leadership, the cycle starts again. Kelly Moulton noted that California and, in particular, Sacramento, has a process that requires extensive collaboration. This is important because in communicating externally, representatives from the city, county, or state must speak with one voice, presenting information in unison with their entity. In response to a question about airports and intermodal land use planning, Abbott noted that there were several barriers to airport intermodal facilities due to the mature nature of many facilities and limited space. Sweatt-Essick said that Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), in North Carolina, is looking at an intermodal facility not far from the airport and that she was involved with the rail connection to Atlanta from the airport. In a question about spending money on land use issues off airport, the issue of revenue diversion was raised. Sweatt-Essick responded that this is a big issue for the FAA. There
4 have been concerns with FAA programs such as the Voluntary Airport Low Emission Program (VALE) and use of those monies to purchase vehicles that would be used off airport, which conflicts with FAA revenue policies. Van Heuven noted that revenue diversion issues come up on intermodal facilities and non-aeronautical development and require creative approaches. In addition, she remarked that Denver International Airport (DEN) had a complicated process getting light rail extended to the airport. Kitty Freidheim, of Freidheim Consulting, asked the panel to comment on the power of local zoning. Van Heuven noted that the primary example of local zoning is for height zoning. Project sponsors submit FAA Form 7460-1 (Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration), indicating proposed construction or alterations that might represent hazards to navigation. Abbott stressed the importance of educating parties about safety. Van Heuven noted that issues of safety are much easier to address than noise. She also stated that the FAA is currently reexamining its noise metrics for this reason. Moulton said that most land use planning for noise is limited to areas exposed to the 65 decibel (dB) dayânight average sound level (DNL)/community noise equivalent level (CNEL) in California. But many airport operators are doing land use planning out to the 60 dB DNL/CNEL. She also noted that most land use jurisdictions plan for 40 to 50 years, whereas airports have a much shorter planning timeframe (10 to 20 years). She went on to say that most of the land in California in the 60 dB DNL/CNEL is county-owned land that many view as available, but then could conflict with the airport operation. It was suggested by an audience member that case studies showing what works and what does not work for land use planning would be helpful. An audience member asked if panelists had experience with local jurisdictions wishing to conduct stormwater mitigation on airports. Panel members responded that they had received such requests as well as requests for other resource mitigation that would be a wildlife hazard, so that they had to explain why those types of mitigation were a problem for safety. Moulton noted a similar issue with shade requirements and wildlife issues. There was a discussion about involving local municipalities with land use control in the airport planning process and airport planners in the municipality planning process. Examples that were cited included Sacramento, where communities are invited into the planning process, as was done for a recent highway project. Sweatt-Essick noted that Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is an airport that participates with local jurisdictions in project planning. Van Heuven remarked that a general aviation (GA) airport had worked with its surrounding community and had a developer retain special expertise in areas that it might not otherwise have and then helped with a project understanding. An audience member asked about leveraging geographic information systems (GIS) developed by either the airport operator or community to support planning. There was a discussion about whether the parties all had a common GIS platform, and several panel members said that they do share with each other. Others noted that some platforms do not communicate well with other platforms.
5 One audience member noted that while most airport operators spend a lot of time on height issues, they also must address compatibility issues with the lands surrounding their airports. However, some said that when the community is involved, the community asks the airport operator to solve some of its local municipal issues. This again raised the issue of revenue diversion challenges. An audience member asked what the FAA could do better to help airport operators. Issues that were raised included revenue diversion, having one side of FAA (Airports) talk with another (such as Air Traffic Organization), being consistent in its approach, and reducing the length of time that it takes to complete non-aeronautical development projects. A timeframe of 2 years was cited as an example, and developers can go elsewhere quicker. Plenary Session 2 Planning Jurisdiction Context Janet Bednarek, University of Dayton, presenter Panelists Tom Armstrong, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (Oregon) Steven Rother, Essex County Improvement Authority, (New Jersey) Chris Cramer, City of Commerce City, Colorado Janet Bednarek gave a presentation titled âAirport Jurisdictional IssuesâEverything Has a History.â This presentation opened the session with a historical perspective on how land use evolved around airports. Her presentation provided photographs of airport settings in Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago Midway, and others that showed how undeveloped these settings were when the airports were formed and how much development has occurred around them in the meantime. Bednarek noted that during the 1920s and 1930s, planners were showing interest in airports and the need to plan for integrating them into the region. However, cities focused primarily on urban and residential zoning at the time. She said that during the 1930s, most cities defunded city planning and that the courts were hostile to airport zoning. The lack of zoning created significant airport encroachment following postâWorld War II suburbanization. Bednarek noted that during the 1970s and 1980s, airport operators learned that the best solution was ownership of land or placement of other controls. In recent years, the âaerotropolisâ concept has attracted attention, but it is basically what was being discussed in the 1930s and 1940s.1 Bednarek introduced the Plenary Session 2 panel. Tom Armstrong provided a community planner perspective on how land use developed around Portland International Airport (PDX). Steven Rother provided an overview of how land use in Essex County evolved and 1 âAerotropolisâ is a term that refers to a new urban form in which the airport acts as the center of a city with multimodal connections to an urban core around it.
6 the relationship to multiple airports in New Jersey. Chris Cramer provided the perspective of development near DEN. Amber Woodburn, of Ohio State University, asked how communities and airport operators address issues of waterways and natural areas. It was noted by a panel member that many airports have waterways and other types of natural areas nearby and that communities and airports work together to address any issues. Communication was discussed as a key ingredient to these efforts. It was also cited that in the past, industrial uses were placed near airports due to compatibility issues and that now those industrial areas are being redeveloped. An audience member observed that the older industrial areas may have been dirty, whereas the newer industrial areas, in general, are cleaner. Also, owners of natural resource areas often work with the airport operators in the planning process. The concept of the aerotropolis was raised, and there was discussion of how the concept was progressing toward becoming a reality. It was noted that in Denver, there are some challenges and opportunities from an aerotropolis perspective, particularly because of how far the airport is from the city center. One commenter remarked that John Kasarda, the lead spokesperson for the aerotropolis concept, believes that in the United States the concept has not yet been as successful as it could be because airports are too small and donât have enough land to support the broader development reflected in the aerotropolis concept. One audience member thought that one of the issues with the aerotropolis concept is that it embraces residential development, which airport operators currently discourage or prevent from occurring in proximity to airports. There was a question as to whether GA airports were less economically valuable to a community than major air carrier airports. Panel members indicated that from an economic impact perspective, the dollar value of GA airports may be less, but that some GA airports serve as relievers, and their presence enables major air carrier airports to provide the economic benefits that they do. Kitty Freidheim asked if privately owned airports were being redeveloped in communities. Rother noted that some private GA airports have 9,000-foot runways and serve an important aviation function. He also said that there are development pressures on smaller airports in New Jersey because the land is so valuable. An audience member remarked that PDX is experiencing redevelopment of a nearby golf course and challenges of compatibility with the airport. A question was raised about sustainability in the context of the levee at PDX. Armstrong noted that following Hurricane Katrina PDX learned to consider new and innovative approaches to floodplain development. A question was raised about social equity in the context of land use planning in local communities and how that might affect airports. Individual panel members stated concerns with issues such as programs for those working at the airport, their wages, vendors and equity, affordable housing, and so forth. Jackie Sweatt-Essick noted that the FAA has issues with residential encroachment, which has been a major focus for more than 40 years.