Airport planning for runway move

Carson City Airport officials will kick off an environmental study of its master plan this month, the first step to getting a new runway and technology to better serve larger corporate jets and comply with federal safety requirements.

A public meeting to gather neighborhood input is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center.

"The purpose of the meeting is to try and attract as many members of the public as possible so we can address concerns and explain how the process is going forward," said Harlow Norvell, chairman of the Airport Authority.

Several neighbors of the airport have been regulars at city meetings, voicing concerns about airport safety, noise and land use. Norvell said airport officials want to address concerns about upgrades to the airport early on to make sure no one is surprised by the process.

The environmental assessment is being conducted by PBS&J Engineering of Reno, which is organizing the meeting.

Airport officials are also considering a proposal by AMES Construction, the state's contractor to build the first phase of the Carson City Freeway, to excavate a portion of airport property for use as freeway fill material.

The proposal was slated to be discussed Tuesday, but may be delayed. As of Thursday, AMES hadn't submitted plans for the project, Norvell said. The company is in the process of evaluating soil quality at the site, he said.

AMES proposes to dig materials for aggregate base for the freeway from land on the west side of Goni Road, Norvell said. Excavation requires the company to restore the area and make sure no serious environmental and drainage issues were created.

"We're not going to have a big gaping hole out there," Norvell said. "The contract between the two, if ever they do have one, would be not only to remove the material, but to restore than land in such a way that it's aesthetically pleasing and meets environmental standards."

The airport is still struggling with how to remove a hill that stands in the way of rebuilding the runway and moving it slightly to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

A proposal by a Carson company to remove the hill and sell the material to freeway contractors was denied by city planning commissioners this year.

Now airport officials are planning the removal in 2005 or 2006 as part of "the normal course of implementation of the master plan," Norvell said.

"We have no specific plans to process that material on site, which was a big concern to the people that live in that area," he said.


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