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Rezoning proposal focus of tonight's public meeting on Livermore Airport

Plan is to create new Airport Zoning District, scrap outdated 1975 land use document

The city of Livermore will hold a public outreach meeting tonight to provide information about the Livermore Municipal Airport Rezoning and General Plan Amendment Project.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in an informal setting at the Robert Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Avenue, Livermore. There will be a brief presentation at 7 p.m. with an opportunity for airport users, operators and interested members of the community to ask questions regarding the specifics of the project.

Livermore is proposing to rezone a portion of the airport from an E-Zoning District (Education and Institutions) to a new proposed AIR (Airport) Zoning District. The purpose of the rezoning is to acknowledge the unique aviation-related uses at the airport and identify related development standards and limitations.

The proposed AIR Zoning District would replace the 1975 Livermore Airport Master Plan as the guiding document for future development at the airport. The 1975 Airport Master Plan would then need to be rescinded as it is dated and no longer relevant. To support these actions, the Livermore General Plan would be amended to delete references to the 1975 Airport Master Plan.

"The magnitude of overall growth permitted in the 1975 Airport Master Plan, along with the very high operations forecasts of 340,000 annual operations, caused serious community concerns," said Airport Manager Leander Hauri. "Updated forecasts show substantially lower figures, around 220,100 annual aircraft operations by 2030. Current annual flight operations of about 159,500 lend credence to this forecast."

"It is important to note that the airport is a self-sufficient, non-tax supported enterprise that provides economic benefits to the city, the Livermore Valley school district, the county and the entire Tri-Valley economy," Hauri added.

Hauri also corrected and clarified a report in the Pleasanton Weekly Sept. 25 that stated that the proposed AIR Zoning District plan "would replace the 1975 Livermore Airport Master Plan," as noted above in a statement from Livermore officials on Sept. 14.

"We are proposing to rescind the 1975 Airport Master Plan, not replacing it with a new one," Hauri said. "The new Airport zoning district will replace the rescinded '75 Master Plan and control future development at the airport."

He also said that the airport did not install a noise monitoring system, as the article stated.

"Instead, both the Livermore and the Pleasanton city councils agreed to have the airport engage an acoustical consultant to perform periodic noise studies to benchmark the dimension/location of the aircraft noise contours about every 2 to 3 years," he explained.

Adding to the article's report that the planned 45-acre senior continuing care community to be developed by Continuing Life Communities in Staples Ranch would be built at the edge of the airport protection zone established in the 1990s, Hauri pointed out that the development "is situated along, and outside of the western boundary of the Airport Protection Area.

"The retirement center is being built exactly on the boundary of the airport protection zone, where the first homes will be built," Hauri said in an interview. "I have told the developers that these homes will need good sound insulation. The buyers will have to be advised they're under the flight path of jets that will be right overhead."

"Small aircraft can avoid much of the area, but heavy aircraft will pass right over" he added.

Dan McIntyre, Livermore's public works director, said that the Livermore airport serves "as a key disaster relief air transportation hub for the Tri-Valley area."

"The proposed rezoning responds to community concerns in that it would constrain development at the airport to less than that authorized under the 1975 Airport Master Plan," he added.

A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the proposed rezoning and General Plan Amendment has been distributed. The Airport Advisory Commission is expected to discuss the proposed rezoning and General Plan Amendment at its regular meeting on Oct. 12. A public hearing on the Draft EIR is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Livermore City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue.

The Draft EIR and "Frequently Asked Questions" are available for review or download on the city's website at http://www.ci.livermore.ca.us/airport/index.html.

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