TC Poll and Letters

(The below original Times-Call poll and comments can no longer be found online)
Vance Brand Airport manager Tim Barth, Mayor Bryan Baum and aviation business owners are touting a runway extension at the airport — from the current 4,800 feet to as much as 6,200 feet — to make the airport more attractive for corporate jets. They believe this would bring more business and more jobs to the city. Opponents maintain that an extension and increased air traffic would benefit few while being a nuisance to many. Do you support extending the Vance Brand runway?
Yes  678  (72.05%)
No  263  (27.95%)
The economic viability of the area is more important to a far greater number of people. It is mystifying that folks who bought near the airport would make the assumption it would never grow, after all, they probably moved here because it was a vibrant community, but to also assume their inconvenience has more weight than area-wide economic recovery, is surprising.
all4thinking, Louisville, CO

I agree with you all. Maybe they should try moving near O’Hare airport in Chicago. I lived right under the pathway of those planes. It can’t be ANY worse than that. Maybe they’d prefer we build another super WalMart in their general direction? :) Not like I’m for another Walmart. Would much rather have a bit more air traffic than that.
CMD, Longmont, CO

If they’re going to expand the airport, they’d better do it now. Looks like they’re in the process of starting a new housing development just to the east. Right where that emergency landing occurred last year. Developers aren’t stupid, they’ll bring people to see the houses during the quietest part of the day. There will be a disclosure as part of the closing, but with the 900 other disclosures it’ll never be noticed, and then people will ‘discover’ that they’re on the flight path and be angry about the noise!
Pablo, Longmont, CO

Frankly, a jet in an out once a week is more preferable than the LOW-flying ,loud antique planes and obnoxious helicopters circling endlessly all day long
hibbie, Longmont

When there is a major street is called Airport Road that should be a clue to most any buyer. Unfortunately with the dumbing down of America they may not be teaching logic in the schools.
Vigilant Patriot, Longmont, CO

Who pays? That is the issue for me. Go ahead build a longer runway as long as it is only the people who use the airport that pay.
Fredstone, Dacono

Vig Pat:It does not say “Jet Airport” road.Should people who live on Hygiene road expect it to be cleaner than most?Should people who live on Rogers road expect to be greeted by a gambling country music star?A name is just a name and just because one lives on Airport road does not mean one should expect to see jets where there were none before.
All wise, Longmont,Co.

“A name is just a name and just because one lives on Airport road does not mean one should expect to see jets where there were none before.” FYI there is and has been an airport on Airport road. So one would expect to see some type of aircraft there.
FB, longmont, CO

What some people fail to understand is that a longer runway will bring in more companies. More companies means better jobs and more money to be spent in Longmont. Better jobs means more money for Longmont businesses. More money for businesses means more tax money for Longmont. More tax money, means more money for better upkeep of parks, roads, etc. that benefits the whole city. The airport runway expansion will benefit all of us.
Vigilant Patriot, Longmont, CO

An upgraded airport if for the benefit of the community at-large. It will be paid for by the community at large. I live in Old-Towne. I hear airplanes all day long on Saturdays. I hate it but understand that having an airport is just part of being in the city. I would hate a barking dog much more, and there are far more barking dogs than airplanes.
sfritz, Longmont, CO

What do the prairie dogs think? Lengthen it.
trailduster, san diego

Just some thoughts on this -There is absolutely no guarantee that Longmont will benefit economically from a lengthened runway. There is a guarantee that there will be more noise and another downturn on the value of homes. I suspect not just for those living near the airport, jets fly faster, have a wider turn radius so my guess is that the folks who are all for it might not be so keen on it once the planes start flying over their house at 6:00am on a Saturday morning.
RationalConservative, Longmont, CO

With Longmont’s elevation and summer temperatures, a 7500 foot runway would be better, but 6200 is better than 4800.
btsom, Mustang,OK

Once again lest see study data, and environmental impact study. Has any companies committed to using the facility? No precision approach in in place. Many homes will loose property value. Look right up the street at the Ft. Collins/Loveland facility , have any companies moved there solely due to an airport? “The Airport opened in 1964 with one runway and a handful of aircraft. Since then the Airport has grown to a 1,100-acre facility with an 8, 500-foot long runway, parallel taxiway, instrument landing system, 225 based aircraft, commercial air service, and a host of aviation businesses providing excellent services to the aviation traveler and aircraft owner.”
ian, Longmont

They should move the airport slightly north and add two 15000 foot runways eventually. The airport should expand. The railroad park can go next to it.
Mr. Anderson, Longmont, CO

If you live by an airport you should expect “air traffic” which includes planes! It’s like living by a golf course you have NO RIGHT to complain about golfers and golf balls in your yard! Lengthen the runway to attract traffic that might go to Jeffco. Environmental studies? Dude its a runway! SHUTUP!!!!
Jenny, Longmont, Co

I hope all you who are writing comments against are taking time to vote although I don’t know if anyone actually pays attention to this poll. Though CEOs might prefer door-to-door service it’s difficult to imagine how the true costs ofdeteriorated quality of lifethat would be immediately and forever realized by Longmont and Boulder County residents could ever be offset by any so-called benefits. The closest fire station is in Hygiene a small volunteer fire dept. that is not equipped to deal with an airport emergency. Let’s keep an overview and be sensible!
BPeterson, Longmont,CO

We do not need an airport expansion. We used to live on the west end of it. It was noisy 30 years ago. There are too many homes in the area now to have more planes in the area and especially jets. Who would really use it. I see no benefit to the community, only more taxes for upkeep, etc. People who live near it, moved near a small airport originally, not a large one serving jets., Longmont, CO

Good idea. Let’s ruin more home values in Longmont. Oh, and let’s ruin it for a bunch of out-of-town executives that DON’T live here and find a 30 minute limo ride too inconvenient. Why is this even being discussed?
123456, Longmont


Below are letters submitted to the Times-Call Open Forum, or various other local papers.

10/8/10 CARE presents false data about airport once again 
     Once again, (S)CARE is providing false data and misrepresenting the truth about the Longmont airport and its master plan. (S)CARE is leading readers to believe our airport will be increasing national debt by using FAA money to update the master plan. The leader of (S)CARE claims to have "put forth hard data" in a fact-finding mission. (S)CARE states funding for the master plan is coming from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus money) and is racking up American government debt. This couldn't be further from the truth. It's even more misleading than their erroneous 35 reasons why the airport should be left the way it is. Those are based on personal feelings, opinions and bad examples from other airports that are not comparable to Longmont airport.
    The airport master plan is being funded by FAA Airport Improvement Program Entitlement money, which comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Aviation and Airway Trust Fund. The trust fund is composed of aviation user fees such as commercial airline travel, general aviation travel or for shipping air freight, not the general taxpayers. If you don't fly or use air freight, it's not your dime. It is not borrowed money.
    Lastly, the FAA is paying $150,000, not $200,000 as (S)CARE misrepresents again. Instead of employing (S)CARE tactics, they should represent the truth for once instead of scared opinions and false information. A call to the local FAA offic is all that is required. I'm glad I called. I got the correct information right away.
Lori Godfrey,Longmont
9/21/10 Runway expansion is unnecessary
     I attended the Airport Advisory Board meeting in Longmont on Thursday evening. I am a member of the community concerned about the potential airport runway expansion and the potential negative effects it would create to our property values, quality of life, wildlife and the environment. After listening to all the comments, as well as learning the procedures for updating the Airport Master Plan, I came away from the meeting with one word that sums up my opinion about the proposed expansion: unnecessary.
     First, safety is not a current issue or concern at the Vance Brand Airport. It has an excellent safety record, and runways expansion is certainly not necessary from a safety standpoint.
     Second, economic development is always a concern in any community, but there is no factual evidence that any corporation has chosen not to locate in Longmont because of our airport's current runway lenght, nor is there any record of a corporation stating that it would consider moving to Longmont only if the expansion occurs.
     Third, demand from businesspeople and others wanting small corporate jet service is already being met by the two regional airports we have on either side of Longmont. Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is about 30 minutes to the north, and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport is about 30 minutes to the south. Is there really enough demand for small corporate jet service that we need another bigger airport right in the middle? Having a big airport every 15 minutes along the Front Range seems pretty excessive.
     The representative from the FAA stated that there are limited funds available in Colorado for airport improvements and that any changes to our current airport will be funded only if they are deemed necessary. In my opinion, the runway expansion in Longmont is totally unnecessary.
Kate Johnson, Longmont

8/17/10 Airports and activists: Question motives, agenda of airport detractors
      For the record, I am a member of the Airport Advisory Board, but let's get one thing perfectly clear:  I did not waive my First Amendment rights when I was appointed to this board.  And some of the things that Citizens Against Runway Expansion, or CARE, are saying about the airport Master Plan must be addressed.
    I recently sent an email to Longmont City Council and staff about the role of our board and other groups, including CARE.  It was subsequently misconstrued by the CARE spokesman at the 8/10/10 city council meeting.  He called it “divisive”, but stating simple facts doesn’t make something divisive.  I voiced concern about a group, made up in large part of non-Longmont residents, inserting themselves into a situation beyond what City Council voted for.
      Members of our board, and every other advisory board, serve at the pleasure of the City Council, who are elected by citizens of the City of Longmont, not Unincorporated Boulder or Weld County.  I never said we won't listen to others, and I have received and answered emails from people outside the city on airport matters.  But the residents of Longmont come first, although at least one CARE member said non-Longmont residents should be “held in equal weight”.  I disagree.  I wasn't appointed by Boulder or Weld County Commissioners, and this is a city owned airport, not county.
      I also find CARE’s logo offensive.  It would be one thing to have a runway, or even the skydiving airplane they object to so much, with a red slash through it.  But they have a silhouette of a Boeing 747 as their intended target.  While both runways and airplanes are inanimate objects, an airplane is only relevant if it's doing its intended mission - carrying people, usually lots of people (or cargo).  In addition, these CARE members know that airliners are not coming to Longmont if this extension is approved.  The runway may get longer, but it isn't getting any thicker to accommodate these kinds of airplanes.
      At the July 27, 2010 City Council meeting I heard blatant falsehoods and ignorance of airports, airplanes, and the Master Plan process from CARE members.  My favorite was that jets were now going to dump fuel on the city prior to landing.  Absolutely ludicrous.  For their effort, they got 1 vote in their favor from city council (from the often befuddled Sean McCoy), 6 other council members voted to approve the funding for the Master Plan, which will include a study on a runway extension.  That doesn't mean there will be a runway extension, nor does City Council have to approve one at the end of the process.
      They also complained that the airport will hurt property values, but on the other hand they gave examples of how the median home price in Longmont is $250,000 but that the homes around the airport average $387,000.  The airport has been there for several decades, whereas these homes and residents have not.  By their own account, it sounds like the airport has probably helped their home values.
      But it appears they are more interested in whipping up the population with Armageddon-like predictions if the airport grows, and are taking noise complaining to a near hysterical level.  They claim it’s an accepted and guaranteed fact that noise will increase.  This is false.  Newer, smaller jets are quieter than many piston/turboprop aircraft, and they don’t tend to loiter over the city or do touch-and-go’s.  But this is one of those inconvenient facts for CARE as it doesn’t fit with their agenda.
      What's worse is that they really don't want to hear voices that disagree with theirs.  I was told this by residents who attended a recent CARE meeting at the library.  Yet CARE calls for openness and transparency from everyone else.  Members of this group have been rude and hostile to at least one city council member, saying she (Katie Witt) can't talk about airplane noise, while others who live down the street from her or even farther from the airport can.  Not only does Ms. Witt represent the ward where the airport sits, she also lives in it.  Not to mention she, along with the other 6 council members, will be the final vote on this issue.
      Contrary to what CARE members have stated, we are only at the beginning of this process and everyone will get a chance to be heard.  No one gets hoodwinked into a runway extension unless they just aren’t paying attention.  Like CARE, I also encourage people to get informed and involved.  A quality education on the subject wouldn’t hurt either.
Chris Rodriguez, Longmont

3/23/10  Airport expansion overdue
     In the Times-Call’s latest Longmont Magazine, we were pleased to see Mayor Baum was positive in his remarks about the improvement/expansion of Vance Brand Municipal Airport.  There hasn’t been major improvement in the runway length since 1988, when the runway went from 3,600 to 4,800 feet.
     Since 9/11, air travel has drastically changed – both business and personal.  With the increase in fractional ownership or charter, the convenience of flying to Longmont’s airport makes travel time shorter and more efficient.  The latest high-tech designs in small and medium-sized aircraft allow travelers access to use hundreds of small airports the major airlines cannot serve.
     Runway lengths for the comparable airports on the I-25 corridor:  Fort Collins/Loveland runway is 8,500 feet; Greeley/Weld County runway is 10,000 feet;  Broomfield/Rocky Mountain Metro runway is 9,000 feet.  Longmont’s 4,800-foot runway in inadequate for small and medium-size jet/turbine aircraft to depart with the maximum number of passengers and adequate fuel to arrive at their destination airport.
     Vance Brand Airport is a crown jewel and a major asset to Longmont.  The airport qualifies for major grand funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and Colorado Department of Aeronautics.  In fact, 95 percent of the cost is funded by federal and state grants, with no city of Longmont general fund monies.  The airport is self-sufficient by collecting user fees on the airport for aviation-related services.  The airport and aviation are meant to be used for the majority of the population, not just a select few.
Larry J. Kuebrich, Longmont
4/2/10  Longer runway would benefit few
     We rejected the idea of lengthening the runway at Vance Brand a couple of years ago for the same reason we should reject it now: noise.  The constant drone of the skydiver planes makes conversations in my backyard almost impossible (I can even hear the plane in my basement), and lengthening the runway for jets will significantly increase the noise over all of Longmont.  Do we really want to have passenger jets flying in and out of the city?  The city is too noisy as it is.  Furthermore, allowing jets to use the airport will result in my property values going down.  Talk about adding insult to injury.
     If the feds provide the bulk of the expenses to run the airport, how can it be said to be self-sufficient?  I’ll bet eliminating the 95% corporate welfare subsidy would reveal that the real costs don’t come close to paying for it.
     Mr. Kuebrich has it backwards: The “select few” that would benefit from an expansion are those with jet planes, not the majority of the public.  As to the convenience of not being able to fly in and out of Vance Brand, that convenience is only for the select few, and we note that DIA is only an hour away.
     Lengthening the runway would be of no benefit to the vast majority of residents.  Rather than expand the airport, perhaps we should be talking about closing it.  Minimally, we should ban all jets and turboprop-powered planes from using Vance Brand.
Bill Butler, Longmont 
4/7/10  Longer runway will be safer
     The Longmont airport has been operating in its present location since before 1940, possibly before Bill Butler was born.  Sometime between its establishment and today, Mr. Butler chose to locate his home in Longmont where he could hear activity from the airport.  This culminated in his April 2 letter to the editor protesting the airport’s proposed runway extension, writing “The city is too noisy as it is.”
     For the past 70 years and more, airplanes at the Longmont airport have made noise.  People have always been free to choose to locate near – or away from – the airport.  Extra runway length increases safe operation at the airport.  Longmont should go ahead with it.
Bob Askey, Longmont
4/8/10  A longer runway could be next big step in Longmont’s future
     I strongly support lengthening the runway at the Vance Brand Airport.  I am a licensed pilot and fly in and out of the airport on a regular basis.  I also live directly under the pattern of the airport, and my wife and I love our neighborhood.
     My wife and I fly to many of the other airports along the Front Range, and it is obvious that other cities recognize the economic importance that their airports provide.  I feel we stand at the doorway of a golden opportunity that will greatly enhance the attractiveness of our beautiful community.  One thing other airports can’t compete with is our view of Longs Peak and the Rocky Mountains.
     I can remember living in a down economy in the early 1990s – and what a positive impact DIA had on the economy back then.  I see this as having a similar impact on our own local economy, albeit on a smaller scale.  A stronger economy will enhance our property values and bring new and exciting opportunities.
     I was born and raised in Longmont, and in my 40 years, I have seen this city grow into something truly special.  I feel this could be the next big step in a bright and prosperous future for this town and the surrounding area.
Lu Toxvard, Longmont
4/9/10 Runway would benefit all
     I find amusing the arguments being made to defeat or support the concept of whether to lengthen the Vance Brand Airport runway.  Arguments of falling house values, more noise, the cost of only a select few benefiting are ill-founded.
     The matter simply boils down to jobs and who makes the decisions on where jobs are located.  I believe our council has a duty to focus on continuing to develop the city’s infrastructure, making Longmont more attractive and competitive compared to other Colorado cities but also nationally.  Longmont already has a competitive foundation built on a highly educated population, a beautiful environment, good schools, attractive Main Street, competitively priced utilities and many venues to relax, eat, play and stay.  However, access must be improved in this global economy or we will be left as a bedroom community.
     Corporate jets carry the executives who visit plants and or look at new sites.  They are the ones who decide where the primary jobs are located and new investment is placed.  These decisions have large economic ripples, including the positive effect on home values when jobs are located in a vibrant community.  These jet trips are mostly day trips with multiple stops, thus adding more than an hour of travel time because they are forced to use Rocky Mountain or Fort Collins/Loveland airports puts Longmont at a disadvantage.  I prefer that they drive, eat and stay in our city.  They will find it a great place to do business.  I did, and I moved my family to this great community.
     I support extending the runway to keep and attract jobs and support the economic health of the community.
Wendell Gene Pickett, Longmont
4/11/10 How about building an airport in southwest Weld County?
     So far, I have seen a number of letters supporting extending the runways at Vance Brand Airport to allow corporate jets.  This would be a fine idea, if the airport was in a rural or industrial area.  But to the south of the airport are a number of residential neighborhoods.  We bought homes here fully knowing there was an airport to the north.  We also knew that the airport did not have jet service.  So, with the exception of a few pilots who do not follow the rules and buzz my town-home once in a while, the airport has been a good neighbor.  And I’d like to keep it that way.
     We have two nearby jet service airports in Loveland and Broomfield.  We do not need jet service here.  If people really want jet service in Boulder County, they should push for it at the Boulder City Airport.  Why?  It is in an industrial area.
     The people of southwest Longmont should not have to sacrifice their peace for the few people who want to run jets into Vance Brand so a few corporate CEO’s don’t have drive 20 miles from Broomfield.  Nor do we need an increase in airplane traffic through all hours of the day and night.  If people really want jet service, they should find a nice large plot of rural land in Weld County and build a new airport.  I understand LifeBridge wants to sell some of its 380 plus acres it owns along Colo. 119.  The Weld County commissioners will be more than willing to oblige.  And the old airport?  Turn it into a much-needed city park on the southwest side.
Nick Metrowsky, Longmont
4/11/10 Long runway won’t benefit all
     The Times-Call has printed many letters in support of expanding the airport.  Here is one opposed.  The proposal to lengthen the runway to accommodate private jet traffic to make it more convenient for a few corporate executives for their private enterprise dealings does not benefit the community as a whole, adds to air pollution and noise pollution, and detracts from the integrity and value of the surrounding semi-agricultural and residential properties.  Some may think the potential for these CEO’s scouting out the area for possible relocations or start-ups depends on their convenience.  I disagree.  Viable large employers in Longmont have already located here without direct jet access or publicly funded helipads.  I suspect the believed that our established (highly technical and educated) workforce, pleasant small city surroundings and adequate support facilities have a lot do with these decisions.  Let’s maintain the quality of life that separates us from Loveland and Fort Collins.  In light of our tight budgets, instead of airport renovations, how about enlarging library parking (since it’s now for city workers); expand the library’s collection; add some jobs to the police, fire, parks and rec departments; and sustain the summer arts festivals?  Benefits more, better priorities, and not a faulty “trickle-down” theory for making a happier airport playground for the CEO’s busy schedules.
Stu Cruden, Longmont
4/12/10  Enforce current rules at airport
     We were disheartened to see yet another comment printed in the Times-Call that people who live or build near the airport have no right to complain about noise pollutions.
     As a family, we are more than a bit frustrated by our continual need to remind some members of the community that the Zweck family began farming west of Longmont 84 years before the municipal airport existed.
     We feel the complete lack of enforcement of the current noise abatement and good neighbor policies need to be addressed before talk of airport expansion goes any further.
Tom & Connie Zweck, Longmont (not within city limits)
4/14/10  Runway plan a ‘classic boondoggle’
     How, exactly, would an expansion of Vance Brand Airport to allow screeching corporate jets over neighborhoods, farms and recreation areas like Pella Crossing benefit the people of Longmont?
     Those who live beyond the recently annexed western edge of the city in rural Boulder County, some of us residents for several decades, didn’t have the opportunity to vote against a mayoral candidate who is “passionate about airport expansion,” yet we would surely feel the effects of this passion.
     The Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is a whopping 20-minute drive to Longmont.  For Boulder access, Jeffco is even closer.  Though CEO’s might prefer door-to-door service, it’s difficult to imagine how the real costs of deteriorated quality of life that would be immediately and forever realized could eve be offset by any so-called benefits.
     This expansion project has been rejected several times by area residents, but someone keeps raising its ugly, inappropriate head.  And today, with all the recent development on and near Airport Road, a lot more people would be negatively affected.
     The project is a classic boondoggle.
Mindy Eckert & Scott Higgins, Kate & Brian Johnson, Steve & Sarah Peterson, Jane Shellenberger & Oscar Arriaga, Christine & Andy Smith, Dan & M.A. Swenson, Longmont (not within city limits)
4/15/10  Local airport noise nothing compared to living by AF base
     You really want to complain about airport noise at Vance Brand, the solution is very simple:  Move closer to Buckley AFB.
     I lived for nearly 50 years by Tinker AFB in Oklahoma; didn’t bother me about any unusual noise of different types of aircraft over the years.
     In fact I enjoyed it knowing that I was safe at night and during the day and got used to hearing the jet test block go off several times of the day – that’s a real wake-up call – and flying over doing sonic boom tests in the 60’s.  The aircraft at the municipal airport are small, nothing like the aircraft in the military, so live with it or move close the train tracks in town.
     The trains are much quieter compared to an F-15 any day of the week.  No complaint from me about aircraft noise.
Datha Nation, Longmont
4/16/10  Firms should pay for runway
     Actually, I accepted the noise from the airport when I bought my home in 1997 as Vance Brand was a typical small general aviation airport used mostly for recreational flying.  Amgen and Seagate had yet to locate near the airport, and Mile-Hi Skydiving had yet to begin flying their obnoxious turboprop plane that climbs to altitude over densely populated areas.  In other words, the kind of use at the airport has changed dramatically in the last dozen years.
     The plea that a longer runway would increase safety is a disingenuous, self-serving and circular argument;  It will be safer for big jets; smaller planes are doing just fine with the airport the way it is.
     I suspect the general public receives few benefits from the city’s share of the fuel taxes because most, if not all, of that money goes back to running the airport.  This raises a question:  How much money from non-aviation sources does the city put into the airport?
     If Amgen and Seagate are so terribly inconvenienced by the short runway length, perhaps they should pay to extend it, as well as paying their fair share of operating Vance Brand, rather than having the public pay for it.  It is time we end corporate welfare – including tax breaks for corporate aviation expenditures – with our tax money.
     Many small airports, drag strips and racetracks have been closed throughout the nation due to noise.  The argument that these things were there before suburbia surrounded them has been shown over and over to be an argument with little merit.  Unless noise is controlled at Vance Brand, it too could be closed or have its activities severely curtailed.  Vance Brand is not the same airport it was when I settled here.
Bill Butler, Longmont  
4/16/10  Airport not a ‘regional center’
     The Vance Brand Municipal Airport seems to be an autonomous entity entitled to grow.  While an asset, it’s also an irritant.  As an economic potential, it’s also an intrusion to the environment.
     A short 4,800-foot runway is an inconvenience to aviation and business interests!
Residential neighbors should accept 6,200 feet and put up with increased airport activity!
Why?  To sell more fuel.  To make travel to Longmont more convenient for businessmen.  To make airport the economic savior of Longmont.
     I’m a 24-year airport neighbor.  The airport was here first.  That does not justify minimizing opposition to changing the airport’s long standing character.  Vance Brand is a municipal strip, not a regional center.
     Aerial intrusion upon the airport’s neighbors living within and adjacent to the 5,800-acre “airport influence area” is significant.  For example, the skydiving operation, under the right conditions, taking off and landing every 30 minutes from 9 to 5 without ever leaving the immediate area.  Thriving business, but an annoyance.
     “Airport influence area” is a term used to define the area where the impact an existing airport generates is to be expected and accepted.  OK – but what an airport expansion would produce is a change in expectations.  New ball game!
     “Neighborhood areas of influence” have evolved to a level that they can reasonable challenge the airport’s very existence.  Airport residential neighborhoods are real and warrant serious consideration in the matter of airport expansion.  Use codes, ordinances, zoning and resultant developments have placed residential populations within and around Vance Brand Airport’s “influence area.”
     Government allowed residential development in close proximity to an airport.  Government should now now impose increased air traffic, associated noise and general aviation activity intrusions upon that population today encompassing much of west, south and southwest Longmont.
Creighton D. Stewart, Longmont  (not within city limits)
4/17/10  Airport, residents must change with the times
     Longmont should be quite tired of the opposition of the Zweck family, constantly repeating their cries of “we were here first.”  Their efforts to block much-needed upgrades to the airport, and the constant complaining about the noise associated with the airport use, is getting old.
I sympathize with the Zwecks’ position.  Having lived on their farm for more than 80 years would make anyone resistant to any change that affects their lifestyle.  However, times change and we must change with the times; Vance Brand needs to extend its runway and expand services there, to promote and encourage new business to move to Longmont.
     Yet at every turn, the Zweck family fights every effort to improve the airport.  Sorry, folks, but the needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few.  Longmont should do what is necessary to bring the airport up to the standard needed to attract new business.
     The City Council is also to blame for the gridlock in this situation.  They have time and again knuckled under and refused to take the action necessary to advance the cause of the airport and the associated benefits to Longmont.
     It is time for the City Council to grow some backbone and force through the necessary legislation to approve the airport expansion.
Benjamin C. Harper Jr., Longmont
4/18/10  Quantitative case needed to justify airport expansion
     While I fully understand the desire and need to attract business to Longmont, I need more than airport manager Tim Barth's assertions in the April 4 edition of the Times-Call to sway me that a runway extension is essential.
     Mr. Barth makes several statements about how beneficial a longer runway would be for Longmont.  Yet he uses only superlatives in describing the magnitude of the impact on our city.  For example, he said has received "letters from other businesses about why they don't use Longmont's airport."  How many other businesses?  What business(es) are they in?
     And Mr. Barth and Mayor Baum say it will drive economic development and create jobs.  How many and what kinds of jobs?  What is the economic impact in dollars?  Show me a business case, including detailed assumptions and sources, and I might be swayed.
     In the interest of full disclosure, I live in southwest Longmont, right under the glide path when planes are making their left base turn for landing on runway 29.  So I do have a dog in this fight.  And, yes, I signed the disclosure form when I bought my house in 1999 stating I was aware there was an airport in the vicinity.  I accept the airport is there, and I don't find it overly bothersome except on a few summer weekend - as it is now.
     But my primary concern remains that there has been no quantitative analysis of the economic impact on the city.  All we've seen to date is qualitative assertions.
     My secondary concern is that a longer runway would also likely result in the expansion of the recreational component of the airport.  Any increase in the summertime noise of the airport would, at least for me, push it to the intolerable level.
Mac Johansen, Longmont  (not within city limits)
4/19/10  Visit to busy airport will do the trick
So Datha Nation thinks those of us concerned about the potential noise at Vance Brand should move close to an Air Force base in order to appreciate an expanded Vance Brand airport's comparatively quiet jets.  Shall we hit ourselves in the heads with hammers, too, so that we can appreciate how much better we feel when we stop?
     Residents living near Vance Brand moved there with the clear understanding that it was a small, local airport that didn't accommodate more than the occasional jet.  The nearby Fort Collins/Loveland Municipal Airport and even Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County are more than sufficient for the Longmont CEO's who arrive via corporate jet.
     This airport expansion is being sold as a revenue generator for the city, but at what cost for city residents' quality of life?  Increased jet access might be handy for the privileged few who would ever use it, but would greatly diminish the quality of life for the rest of us who would have to put up with the noise.
     I live near enough of Vance Brand to enjoy the small planes that fly in and out, and we have a great view of the skydivers who populate the skies on any given day.  But I also enjoy the peace and quiet that go with not having jets fly directly overhead - or even anywhere near my home.  It's one of the reasons I live in Longmont.
     Anyone who thinks that same peace and quiet won't be destroyed by jet traffic should spend just an hour or so near Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.  No need to actually move there.
Barbara Pomeroy, Longmont
4/20/10  Get facts first before extending VB runway
      I find myself with one foot in Mayor Baum's camp, which hopes to expand Vance Brand airport, and the other nestled with those who are concerned the increased jet noise of executive jets flying in and out will destroy the peace and harmony of their lives.
     There's no question that a longer runway would allow heavy-duty suits to more conveniently jet into their interests and would also be an attractive inducement to other industries looking for a new home.  On the other hand, if the improved facilities were used for touch-and-go jet training, or if no FAA approved noise abatement regulations were in place, it would be a hard sell to those under the flight path.
     It's one thing to have 10 jets a day landing and or taking off; quite a different matter if it's 10 a week.  I suggest we find out what's happening at Fort Collins/Loveland (FNL) airport so that comparative evaluations can be made for Vance Brand airport.
     FNL is an "uncontrolled" airport, meaning it doesn't have a control tower, which in turn means it doesn't log the number or type of aircraft that land and take off.  This is unfortunate but the answer is simple:  Put boots on the ground.  Someone (preferably from city hall) should make contact with those at FNL who can provide this information to a reasonable degree of accuracy - managers of fueling facilities may in fact log their clients and owners/operators of flying schools likely have a good idea of air traffic.
     So before we all get our knickers in a knot, let's first get some facts to inform the debate.  It's quite possible there's not a great deal for either side to worry about.
Don Coulson, Longmont
4/21/10  Many residents opposed to expansion of airport
     The idea of the expansion of the Vance Brand Municipal Airport turns my stomach for a number of reasons.  The increased noise factor is certainly one of them; I moved to the country to get away from that.  Please, no more claims that jets will be quiet.  I know better.
     Second, it disturbs me that there are currently two larger airports within 20 minutes of Longmont, one in Erie and one in Fort Collins, that could accommodate the jets you're attempting to land here in the midst of our beautiful, rural, agricultural, residential Longmont/Hygiene area.
     The third concern I have regarding this expansion relates to the pollution that will ensue.  This airport is smack in the middle of our farmlands, many of which supply us with organic crops.  The jets fly on leaded fuel, and the particulates will settle on our crops and in our waterways.  Not good for us and not good for the wildlife.
     Many Longmont and Boulder County residents are opposed to the idea of this expansion, all in the supposed name of skydiver pilot safety (why are they allowed to jump in the middle of ongoing air traffic to begin with?) and/or in the name of corporate convenience.
     It took me about two hours to educate 38 people and obtain their signatures to petition efforts to expand the airport.  My neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods are in an uproar, and we're gaining strength and momentum by the day.  We will fight this expansion tooth and nail, mark my words.
     The city needs to reconsider its motives.  We can think of myriad other projects to spend money on in these hard economic times.
Mindy Eckhardt, Longmont  (not within city limits)
4/23/10  Some airport claims not factual
     Open Forum letters opposing the proposed extension of the Vance Brand runway are becoming ridiculous.
     One writer recently wrote that lead in jet fuel would harm her or the wildlife in the surrounding area should corporate jets be permitted to operate.
     Jet fuel is simply kerosene.  There are additives in jet fuel to deal with such issues as freezing temperatures and bacterial growth; but no lead.
     Corporate jets are already operating at Vance Brand Municipal Airport.  Of the 100,000 operations at the airport last year, 130 were corporate jets serving such companies as Hope Depot, Lowe's, Net Jets and Dillard's.  A longer runway would allow Amgen, Seagate, John Deere and Microsoft to operate safely.
     The progressives have tried, unsuccessfully, to demonize large corporations.  But the bottom line is that encouraging corporations to settle or expand in Longmont is vital in creating good jobs and enhancing economic prosperity.  When corporations make decisions as to where to expand or move, the location of a well-managed airport plays an important role in that final decision.  Once more, runway length is an important criterion in takeoff/landing performance calculations and range capabilities to the next destination.
     Boulder County has an unemployment rate of about 7 percent, and there are many more who are underemployed.  Seems to me an occasional corporate jet landing at Vance Brand Airport is a small price to pay for economic prosperity a slightly longer runway could bring to Longmont and the surrounding area.
Dick Piland, Niwot
4/24/10  Who will pay for longer runway?
The airport runway extension would be nice and possibly useful to all the users.  That's not the issue.  The issue is who should pay for it.  It shouldn't be the taxpayers, and it shouldn't come from the grants.  Grants come from the state and federal government overtaxing everyone in the U.S.  Every community pays into these taxes.  But not every community gets grant money.  A lot of small communities need money for necessary infrastructure, but they won't receive it because they don't have professional grant writers.
     If the CEO's of Amgen and Seagate like using our airport because it is closer to their plants, why don't we ask them to help pay for this extension?  Amgen CEO Keven Sharer's total compensation is about $34 million a year.  Three Seagate executives earn more than $500,000 a year each.  And how far do they have to ride in their limousines to get an airport to fly here?
     And why can't the present user help pay for this extension?  If you can afford to fly around, you can afford to help out!  Mr. Wendell Gene Pickett says it all boils down to jobs!  Jobs for who?  We have a right to ask this question!
     Mr. Bob Askey states it will make our airport safer.  I didn't know our airport was unsafe.  I haven't read anything in the newspaper about it being unsafe.  Someone needs to explain this.  I am asking the City Council to not use any grant and taxpayer money for this project.  With all the intelligent people in Longmont, I'm sure we can be more creative.  So let's not tax Longmonters, and let's save the country's grant money.
Al Scheopner, Longmont
4/25/10  Firsthand experience would help determine impact of jet traffic
     I believe the Longmont City Council and perhaps the Boulder County commissioners would be performing a great service for their electorate by becoming involved in the current discussion regarding accommodating corporate jet use at the airport.
     My suggestion to them is:  Arrange for several of these jets to perform landings and takeoffs (there has been a Cessna Citation at the airport in recent years with infrequent takeoff and landings), do a field trip and evaluate the noise impact firsthand.
     I feel it's very important that the aircraft not only take off to the less-populated west but also to the more-populated east, as this is quite frequently the flight pattern most afternoons, dependent upon wind conditions.
     I feel it would be quite informative for the residents of Longmont and the surrounding community if they were notified well in advance of this exercise (over a weekend perhaps) to allow them to evaluate for themselves the potential noise levels.  Whatever the noise level, realize that full fuel and passenger loads, different aircraft, as well as certain weather conditions would necessarily alter this.  Here is an example where our community leaders can facilitate the residents' opportunity to evaluate the impact for themselves.
     Considering the raptor population in the immediate airport vicinity, I would also encourage an opinion from our local Audubon Society.
Tom Shonka, Longmont  (not within city limits)
4/26/10  Incorrect information not helpful in debate over runway length
     When recent writer Mindy Eckhardt "educated" 38 people in her neighborhood, I hope she didn't use the misinformation contained in her letter.
     She points out "two larger airports within 20 minutes of Longmont, one in Erie and one in Fort Collins that could accommodate the jets you're attempting to land here."
     Erie's runway is 100 feet shorter than the current Longmont runway and 15 feet narrower: Fort Collins/Loveland in 20 minutes?  Maybe in an airplane.
     She states, "The jets fly on leaded fuel, and particulates will settle on our crops and in our waterways."
     Jets and turboprops, including the Twin Otter and King-Air that Mile-Hi Skydiving use the most, run on jet fuel.  Jet fuel does not have lead.
     Lead is an additive that is added to the type of fuel that smaller airplanes use, which is known as aviation gasoline, or AvGas, but not to jet fuel.  AvGas actually puts out less carbon into the atmosphere than automobile gasoline, not because less is used but because the amount of pounds of carbon dioxide emitted per million BTUs is less (153 to 156 pounds per million).
     She questions "why are they allowed to jump in the middle of ongoing air traffic to begin with?"  Mile-Hi Skydiving Center and Denver Approach Control have a document called a "letter of agreement" that helps keep the skydiving aircraft safely away from the hundreds of jets that fly over Longmont.
     If people are against extending the runway, that's one thing.  But they should at least educate themselves before spreading misinformation of the realities of airports and aviation.
Brigette Rodriguez, Longmont
4/26/10  Who pays for promise of development?
     Regarding the expansion of the runway at Vance Brand Airport, the true cost of the project will be paid by the local residents who give up the peace of daily living and are asked to listen to the huge noise of one or two rich guys flying their jets over their heads all day long.
     The increased traffic and road improvements costs of "more business" will ultimately be paid for by us as well.
     Can they really convince us that this is for us?  How long will we residents keep falling for the idea that promises of "economic development" will bring us more happiness?
     I think a friendly, peaceful community benefits us far more greatly in the long run.
Karen Beeman, Longmont  (not within city limits)
4/27/10 Guest Opinion: Airport expansion will boost economy
     The Longmont airport is one of the most important assets of the Longmont Community. The State of Colorado does an economic impact study every five years and the most recent study shows that the airports value to the community is 43 million dollars a year and that it supports 666 jobs. Lengthening the runway will increase the utility and safety of the airport and will ultimately increase these numbers significantly.
   Business aircraft are used extensively by a wide variety of companies to increase efficient use of their time. There are over 8000 business type airplanes on order at various manufacturers which should show one the serious nature of this industry.
   While we need to make the airport more user friendly for visiting aircraft, there is another important aspect of business aviation that is being overlooked.The city is getting numerous inquiries from companies looking for places to locate where they can base an airplane close to their place of business. One of the questions that shows up on their surveys is whether the airport has a runway of more than 6000 feet in length. It would be a shame for these companies to look elsewhere for this reason!
     Right now, our airport has an average of one turbine powered business aircraft operation every three days and virtually no one notices. We have not had one noise complaint on any of these operations. Manufacturers of this type airplane are very aware of noise problems around airports and have spent millions of dollars to make their airplanes quiet and have done a great job. If business traffic were to increase three fold, this would only equate to one business flight per day. Remember, these folks are not flying around just to find a place to land but come here for the specific pupose of creating business.
     Jet aircraft are performance limited which means that with our present runway length, crews are not able to buy large quantities of fuel which is a very inefficient way for them to operate and a loss of revenue to our airport operator and city. An increase in fuel sales would give our airport operators more incentive to improve their facilities making us even more attractive. By the way, turbine fuel does not contain any lead!!
    Having been a demonstration pilot for a business aircraft manufacturer and crew member for a large corporate operator, I can tell you that companies will want to land as close to their point of business as possible. It is time consuming and therefore inefficient not to do so. Traveling from a remote airport to Longmont in 20 minutes is pure fantasy for a number of reasons. One must secure the aircraft, rent one or more cars, gather up ones passengers and possibly baggage and drive. Mapquest shows a minimum time of thirty minutes and experience tells me that this operation will require close to two hours each way.
    As for commercial operations as in airlines, there is no intention nor is there any possibility to attract this segment of aviation. Our runways, taxiways and ramp areas are weight limited and would not be compatable with larger/heavier aircraft.
    The runway project would be funded by the aviation industry and NOT the cities general fund. Therefore, projects in town would not be hindered by this expenditure. In my opinion, the runway extention would be a real boost to the economy of our town and provide much needed jobs for our citizens. Lets make this happen for the good of everyone in our community!
Howard Morgan, Jr
Chairman, Longmont Airport Advisory Board

4/28/10  Eight years later, still a 'no' on expansion of airport
     The Table Mountain Association consists of more than 1,000 families on the west side of Vance Brand Airport.  The "Airport Passed Over" article dismayed us because it is one-sided and biased.
     Numerous formal complaints have been filed about air traffic noise and other violations at the airport over the past decade, yet there was no mention of them.
     No documented need for increased air traffic at Vance Brand exists, and any ancillary economic benefits are pure speculation.  In 2001, Vance Brand had more than 112,000 flights.  That's more than 300 daily.  Are more really needed?
     If an expansion is approved, more and larger planes will be attracted to the facility, which will then become marginal for those larger and more frequent operations, and the cycle of expansion will be perpetuated.
     While Vance Brand's current safety record is admirable, some experienced local pilots, including members of the Table Mountain Association, have expressed concerns about the potential hazards of jets and small aircraft interactions.  We recommend corporate and commercial flights be continued at existing larger airports nearby that can handle the traffic.
     In 2002 we did extensive research into the merits and drawbacks of the same airport expansion.  This airport is a recreational facility, boxed in by many private homes and small farms.
     An expansion would have a serious impact on the quality of life of those living west of the airport.  Increased traffic results in more noise, more pollution and on-the-ground safety concerns.  In 2002, many residents and the Longmont City Council agreed, and the proposed expansion was soundly defeated.
     Our community is not the Denver Tech Center, Interlocken or the Fort Collins I-25 corridor.  We said "no!" in 2002 and we say the same "no!" today.
     We live in a special place that merits preservation, not exploitation.
Craig Doolittle, President Table Mountain Association  (not within city limits)
4/28/10 Would airport expansion affect Google's decision?
     Mr. Dick Piland wrote a thoughtful, fact-based letter published in the Times-Call Open Forum on April 23.
     Mr. Piland noted additional Longmont employers who will be able to safely operate their aircraft out of Longmont's airport with the proposed runway extension.
     This enhanced access for these employers can only have a positive influence on decisions for these employers to expand their business operations in Longmont.
     There are other opportunities for the city of Longmont, beyond our local job base, impacted by our airport's capabilities.  Consider Longmont's recent bid to Google to invest in Longmont to build a new high-speed data network.
     This proposed investment is enormously attractive to the city of Longmont because of our existing infrastructure.
     However, Google operates two Gulfstream V aircraft that are unable to safely operate out of our airport.  The proposed runway extension would allow these Gulfstream V aircraft to safely operate directly to Longmont.  I cannot help but wonder if safe, fast and convenient transportation to the community is a decision criterion for the significant investment proposed for the new high speed data network?
Bryan Dawe, Longmont
4/30/10  Longmont's airport should stay small
     It's nice to have Vance Brand Airport in our locality.  I, too, enjoy the recreational skydivers, and small planes doing touch-and-goes over my home is not a bother.
     Who's more important to City Council, a few big-business CEOs or the urban developments that would shudder with the noise of Lear jets?  And who OK'd these developments?  Does City Council listen to residents in Longmont, or do they have selective hearing?
     People chose Longmont to live for its small community ambiance, not to be close to noisy jets overhead.
     With Arapahoe and Loveland airports close by, it seems there are sufficient airports to service the big businesses.
Doris Ogden, Longmont
5/1/10  Airport expansion ignores environmental concerns
     It is really sad that the individuals controlling Longmont's economic future constantly want to introduce environmental problems for the city and the residents of Longmont, such as airport expansion and an industrial train park.
     Longmont has a historical downtown, a mountain river running through the town, and butts up to the Front Range just like Boulder.
     However, unlike Boulder, which embraced these assets and continues to have a growing economy and real-estate market, Longmont continues to ignore these assets by pushing the expansion of the Vance Brand Airport that is hemmed in by schools, residential housing and organic farmland.
     I cannot imagine sending my kids to a school where regional jet traffic will be a constant distraction from their daily studies.  And do not kid yourself if you do not think the ultimate goal for the airport is the building of a terminal designed to handle passenger and freight traffic.
     How many regional airports do we need or even want?  We are 20 to 30 minutes from both the Loveland/Fort Collins Airport and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield.  Maybe by jamming so many airports so tightly together we can get the executives so close to their businesses' front doors that they will ride bicycles the final 200 feet to their plush executive offices, reducing their carbon footprint and giving the environment a break.  I think not.
     If Longmont is so set on a regional airport, then close the existing one and move it east like Denver did so it can be a viable regional airport.  Expanding the airport will not guarantee that jobs will be added to the Longmont economy.  It's a scare tactic to put fear into our residents so they feel obligated to give in.
     However, the airport expansion will guarantee an increase in environmental pollutants - noise, air and water.  If Longmont continues down these questionable environmental paths, we might as well just change Longmont's name to Noisemont.
Steve Allen, Longmont
5/7/10  Mitigate current airport noise
     There have been several letters for and against a longer airport runway.  I am currently against it because I don't know how it will be used in the future.
     Many people, myself included, bought houses west of Hover Street.  I knew the airport was there and went out to the area before I purchased.  Over my house, I heard planes in their landing pattern under low power.  The planes that would take off and fly over were louder, but it lasted a very short time.
     Now I get to hear the constant roar of the skydiving plane as it circles above my house climbing at full power.  On weekends, it can be almost nonstop, landing only long enough to pick up a new load.  This plane did not exist in Longmont when I bought my house.  I admit that I did not expect one airplane to have such a negative effect on the quality of life for so many residents.
     If I still heard the same noises as when I moved here, I would not have any complaints.  The concern for many people against the expansion is not knowing what to expect in the future.  If it's an occasional jet flying over my house in a landing pattern, I would not have a problem with a longer runway.  However, I am afraid that the city will allow another public nuisance like the skydiving operation.
     If city officials want my support, they need to mitigate the current noise problem.  This would demonstrate that they truly are concerned about the airport being a good neighbor.  If you feel the same, contact you City Council, as I am.
Craig Anderson, Longmont
5/7/10  Just a few airport questions
     We have heard the pro and con arguments for expansion of the runway at Vance Brand.  Thus, the following yes/no survey to help focus the issues and community opinions.  Although it would appear that these questions are biased, they actually reflect the central issues as presented in various letters to the editor.  To simply ask a yes or no question as to whether the airport should be expanded tells us nothing about the underlying issues and concerns.
     Should the people of Longmont:
     1.  Expand the runway to avoid inconveniencing a few corporate users?
     2.  Allow private and corporate jets of any kind to use the airport?
     3.  Allow commercial passenger jets to use the airport?
     3.  Allow turbo-prop airplanes to use the airport?
     4.  Continue to sacrifice our loss of quality of life by allowing the turbo-prop skydiving plane to climb to altitude over the city?
     5.  Expand the airport regardless of noise for pie-in-the-sky promises of economic growth?
     6.  Have Longmont or the federal government (your taxes) pay for the expansion?
     7.  Have the multibillion-dollar corporations and CEOs making obscene salaries pay for the expansion regardless of noise concerns?
     8.  Close Vance Brand if noise cannot be controlled?
Bill Butler, Longmont
5/9/10  Runway one part of airport plan update
Recently there have been several letters to the Editor and discussion in the community relating to the potential extension of the runway at Vance Brad Municipal Airport.  To clarify, there is currently no planned or scheduled project to extend the runway at the Airport.  The City is, however, working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain funding to update the Vance Brand Municipal Airport Master Plan.  The current Master Plan was completed in 2002, and there have been several changes at the Airport since the completion of that Plan. It is now time to update that document again.
     The City anticipates the Master Plan Update will cost approximately $204,000 and will take somewhere between 6 and 8 months to complete. The funding for the Master Plan update will come in the form of grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the State Division of Aeronautics for approximately 92% of the total project cost. The remaining 8% of the funds will be provided by the City’s Airport Fund.  As it stands today, it doesn’t appear that Federal Aviation Administration funding will be available until August or September of this year.
     There are specific requirements and guidelines for an Airport Master Plan and work must comply with FAA regulations.  The goal of the Master Plan is to identify operational and capital improvements that will be needed at the Airport over the next decade in order to maintain safe and efficient operations.  While the Master Plan will look at all aspects of the Airport, one of the items that the update will include is an evaluation of the existing runway including its ability to meet the current and anticipated needs of Vance Brand Airport.
     An extension of the runway will be considered, but length is only one aspect of the runway that relates to or controls the type of aircraft that can utilize the airport.  In addition to length, the weight bearing capacity of the runway is also a limiting factor.  The current runway is weight-limited to typical corporate jet aircraft weighing up to 30,000 lbs with single landing gear, or not more than 60,000 lbs with tandem landing gear.   If an extension of the runway is constructed, the weight limits of the existing concrete runway will still control the size of the aircraft that could use the runway.  There are not currently any plans to increase the structural weight capacity of the runway. Quite simply, the airport was not designed or built to accommodate larger aircraft. Also, the layout of the existing airport property, the spacing of taxiways and the proximity of the hangers to the runway limit operations at the Airport.
     In addition to runway considerations, the Master Plan will also address items such as business development, hangar development, aircraft parking space requirements, noise abatement, environmental considerations, automobile parking requirements, anticipated maintenance projects of existing infrastructure, car rental concessions, food service concessions, public bathroom requirements, utility requirements, security enhancements and requirements, landscaping and other future capital needs.
     It is imperative not to understate the importance of a Master Plan from this perspective. Regardless of the runway question, there are many important needs that will be addressed from a management perspective that are equally important to ensure the safe and efficient day-to-day operation of the airport.
     When the Airport Master Plan update process begins, the City will notify residents using a variety of community involvement efforts and outreach. The City will hold at a minimum three public meetings and a public hearing before the Master Plan is sent to the Longmont City Council for final approval.
     In the mean time, if you are unsure of any information about the airport, please contact me at 303-651-8431 and I will be glad to provide you with further information concerning Longmont’s Vance Brand Airport and how it operates.
Tim Barth,
Longmont Vance Brand Airport Manager

5/11/10  Prove runway claims
     In response to Howard Morgan's guest opinion regarding the proposed airport expansion:
     Mr. Morgan states that lengthening the runway will increase the airport's value to the community and increase jobs.  What is he basing this on?  Has a formal study been done or a business plan developed that supports his assertion?
     He states that the city gets inquiries from companies looking for places to locate with an airport with a runway longer than 6,000 feet?  Can he document companies that chose not to locate in Longmont specifically because our runway is not 6,000 plus feet?  Boulder doesn't seem to have trouble attracting major companies, and its airport's longest runway is 4,800 feet (same as ours).
     He claims that traveling from another airport would take two hours each way:  30 minutes of driving time, and an hour and a half to secure the aircraft, rent a car and gather passengers and baggage.  Wouldn't one have to do those things if one landed in Longmont?  So if the drive to their business was 10 minutes from the Longmont airport but 30 minutes from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan airport, that's a difference of 20 minutes, not two hours.
     I'm not saying his claims are completely untrue, but I'm asking these questions as an example of the kinds of questions Longmont residents should be asking.  It's easy to say a longer runway would promote safety and economic development but a completely different thing to prove it.  I, for one, would like proof that this expansion would be worth the expense, environmental impact and general disruption to our quality of life that I anticipate it would cause.
Kate Johnson, Longmont
5/14/10  Citizens should question runway plans
Apparently, Longmont’s leadership wants to lengthen the runway at Vance Brand airport to accommodate a greater variety of aircraft (Ledger, April 25). In response, Longmont residents should be asking questions, such as:
     How will jet planes flying in and out of our airport increase the quality of life for Longmont citizens?
Do we place a higher value in having corporate jets taking off and landing above our homes, or do we place a higher value in a quieter experience when we are biking, walking, out in our yards, enjoying city parks, for our kids at their school playgrounds, etc.?
     Will the airport’s existing noise contour mapping increase with the jet activity? If so, how will this affect the property values of homes that are newly included within the noise contours resulting from more and possibly louder aircraft?
     How will the city manage the increased noise and associated noise complaints, and how much will it cost on a one-time and on-going basis?
     And, regarding the example cited by Mayor Bryan Baum, let’s ask if the CEO from Chick-fil-A actually said he would have stayed to schmooze and tour our fair city if he could land his corporate jet here. Perhaps, given the time saved in landing at our airport, he would have done what most successful corporate executives would do, have more time to fit in another business meeting someplace else.
Martin Omer, Longmont
5/21/10  Turboprop plane source of noise
     I was sitting on my deck on a beautiful Colorado Sunday morning with a cup of coffee reading the fine column by Tim Barth when the skydiving plane destroyed the peace and quiet of the moment - and Mother's Day in general.
     What Mr. Barth fails to mention in his article on updating the airport master plan is that this process will take from three to five years for the study, including modifications, and there will be no assurance that the noise problem will go away.
     My concern is with the skydivers' turboprop plane and the constant dawn-to-dusk drone as it climbs to jump altitude over my home some 20 times a day.  I fail to understand how a private company can use a public facility to negatively impact the rights of others for their own profit.  It is beginning to look like litigation may be the answer to shutting down the skydivers' turboprop plane.
     Sooner or later, one of the lawyers in the area will take up this quality-of-life issue that affects us all.  A hundred dollars from each of the thousands of residents in the area should be sufficient to begin the process to close down the turboprop and possibly the airport.
     I doubt that any company with a plane would want to locate in Longmont if they believe they will be the focus of public animosity for their corporate use of the airport and especially if their company may become involved in a lawsuit.
     Should this plane be sold or taken permanently out of service, I suspect much of the opposition to the extension of the runway might disappear.
Bill Butler, Longmont

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