Thursday March 31, 2016
The wheels are constantly in-motion at the Burlington International Airport, and in an attempt to keep the public informed, the airport provided an update to the Noise Land Inventory and Reuse Plan at a March 24 public informational meeting on BIA’s second floor mezzanine.
What exactly is a Noise Land Inventory and Reuse Plan? CHA, the consultant hired for the project, guided the audience through a presentation with the answers.
Under the FAA, the Noise Land Reuse Study is used to evaluate the future use and disposition of properties acquired by the airport for noise compatibility purposes. Property that was acquired for these purposes is defined as “noise land.” The properties acquired under the FAA home buyout program fall under this definition. The airport has been acquiring properties for noise compatibility purposes since 1985, and the last Noise Land Inventory and Reuse Plan for the airport was completed in 2009.
The plan must document whether the noise land should be retained for noise compatibility purposes, be used for other aviation-related purposes, or if the property can be transferred, exchanged, or sold for non-aviation purposes. The most common form of “disposal” (the official term used regarding disposition of the property) is conversion of the land for airport uses or buffer zones.
If the airport does decide to sell or transfer the property, the airport cannot profit from it, as it would be a violation of Grant Assurance 31. If a sale or transfer occurs, the money must go back to the FAA or be used for airport-related purposes.
CHA’s Paul Puckli then reviewed a series of maps to paint a series of long-term development scenarios. The noise land inventory map showed the properties that have been acquired from 1992-2015 as well as the other properties that have not been acquired to-date.
Director of Aviation Gene Richards clarified that the airport is not necessarily finished with buying homes since the offer is still open to select, existing homes.
“It’s a choice. It will go until the people are ready to sell their homes,” he said.
Puckli then transitioned to a map of a proposed short-term programs which outlined possible roadway improvements down Airport Drive, on Airport Circle, Maryland Street (perpendicular and connecting to White Street), and part of Henry Circle. The map also outlined possible roadway closures along Dumont Avenue, Picard Circle, and Ledoux Terrace as well as portions of Maryland Street and Henry Circle. 2015 and 2020 noise contour lines, acquired properties and eligible parcels for acquisition were also shown.
A map of the airport’s 2030 Master Plan shows expansive changes, including more roadways across the noise land, and future amenities, including parking, a hotel, airport maintenance building, car wash facility, and landslide development.
If conditions in the 2030 vision aren’t realized, CHA shared an alternative development scenario. The map showed improved access from Airport Drive to Airport Parkway, traversing over noise land and connecting to an Interstate 89 interchange option.
After the presentation, the audience broke off into groups to view enlarged renderings of the maps and have their questions answered directly by airport officials and CHA consultants.
Residents discussed a range of topics, like how these scenarios affect traffic, what mitigation can be done for existing homes outside the noise land, the type of landscaping that could take place, funding, and the need for the dog park to be relocated.
The assessed value of the property also came into question. The noise land was purchased at an assessed residential value, but the property would now be based on fair market value which could be used for commercial purposes. How would that play out?
“If the airport wanted to build something that’s going to make money for the airport, that’s perfectly fine with the FAA if you go through all the procedures,” CHA Market Segment Vice President-Aviation Paul McDonnell explained. “You could use this for an airport-dependent business (he used FedEx as an example). The only catch for the airport is that money that the FAA gave them to buy this property, the airport has to pay back to the FAA, because then the airport gets that money from the airport-dependent business.”
How this would affect the city’s tax base and the pending lawsuit also came into question. McDonnell said he was not qualified to speak on the topic, but it is a piece of the puzzle to consider as the property is being assessed.
The airport’s next steps include a recommended disposition for each parcel by category of disposal and identifying if there should be any bundling of parcels. The airport will also assess whether there’s potential for exchange for noise land and will consider South Burlington’s planning activities. Findings will then be presented to the city and community at-large at another public meeting, before it is considered for approval by the FAA.
Additional questions or comments regarding the Noise Land Reuse Plan Update should be directed to Richards (802-863-2874, ext. 200; firstname.lastname@example.org) There is also a project website: http://www.btvairportlandreuse.com.
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent