News Archives

Here are some headlines and news articles dating back to the airports inception. 
(This page is currently being updated - check back soon)

Scanned PDF files (click on each decade to open images)
Year 2000's

1990's (Pt 1)
1990's (Pt 2)

1990's (Pt 3)


Article summaries:
Longmont is to have modern landing field
City looks to future, making arrangements for air travel

(originally ran 4/28/1927)
Three jumps ahead of the times – that’s Longmont!
Anticipating the rapid growth of air travel, Longmont is to have a municipal landing field at the city’s edge where sky travelers of the near future may park their planes and walk two blocks to the center of the business district.
Announcement of the new landing field was made today by C.D. Rue, secretary of the Longmont chamber of Commerce, who has secured a lease on the Dickens property just south of the V.S. Allen baseball grounds, following the authorization of the undertaking at a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
So far as is known, Longmont is the first city of its size to support a modern landing field.  The field will be modern in every respect and may be illuminated for night landing.  Work of grading the ground and erecting wind indicators and other landing signals and signs will be started at once, according to Mr. Rue.
The field will be a quarter of a mile in width and a mile in length.  There will be clear approaches to it from both east and west.  Longmont already boasts of one airplane, owned by Eugene M. Miller, Longmont jeweler, and it was at the instigation of Mr. Miller that the project was undertaken by the Chamber of Commerce.
In commenting on the undertaking Mr. Rue said: “The Chamber of Commerce feels that aviation is in its infancy and that any city getting in on the ground floor in establishing cross-country aviation fields will materially benefit in years to come.  It is proposed to open and dedicate our new field with a series of spectacular aviation feats which we will announce at a later date.”

(originally ran 5/18/1927)
Longmont’s new landing field will be formally dedicated Friday with a series of flying stunts and passenger service to be supplied by at least three airplanes, it was announced by the Chamber of Commerce committee in charge of the dedication today.
Among Denver flyers who found it possible to be here for the event on Friday are J.A. McInaney, sales manager of the Alexander Airplane company, and Bill Diegel and Cloyd P. Clevenger, pilots.  Original plans which promised from fifteen to twenty planes and stunt flyers for event fell by the wayside when the committee decided to abandon its plan to hold the meet on Sunday, May 22, due to the opposition registered by the Longmont Ministerial association, six members of which formally called at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and voiced their protest.
However, notwithstanding the setback the committee is determined to make the best of conditions and promises the best show possible under the circumstances.  It is said to be doubtful whether a parachute jumper can be had for the event due to the inability of the performer originally in mind to leave his work on the new date.
The first plane may be expected here Friday morning at about 7:30 o’clock and it is considered probable that he may thrill spectators with a few stunts before landing.  Passengers will be carried all day at a popular price and an effort will be made to influence some of the flyers to remain over Saturday.
There will be no charge at the field and those of the public who can do so have been urged to be present.
Rue Flies from Denver in Thirty-five Minutes; Plane Bumps Propeller Into Miller Hangar

(originally ran 5/20/1927)            COMING SOON
No White Elephant, Is This Municipally Owned, Modern Forward-Looking Project
(originally ran 8/22/1947)        COMING SOON
Part of Long-Range Plan
Longmont Airport Expansion Underway
(originally ran 3/26/1966)        COMING SOON
Airport Eyed for County Use
(originally ran 3/22/1969)        COMING SOON
Growth Forseen for Longmont Aviation
Air Action Centered at Longmont Airport
Practice Training Make Good Pilots
(originally ran 3/21/1970)        COMING SOON
Facility Makes $5,000 a Year for City
Longmont Airport Expansion And Improvement is Underway
(originally ran 8/4/1972)        COMING SOON
(originally ran 1/31/1974)        COMING SOON
County Planners Table Motion on Expansion of Facility
Noise Level Control at Longmont Airport Sparks Debate
(originally ran 5/29/1976)        COMING SOON
Pilots outline plans; seek city support in airport developments
(originally ran 7/18/1977)        COMING SOON
Pilot group asks council to review base applicants
(originally ran 7/18/1977)        COMING SOON
Merged airport here suggested
(originally ran 7/29/1977)        COMING SOON
Third airport FBO approved
(originally ran 9/26/1977)        COMING SOON
Official: Airport land-use crucial
Locating ‘county airport’ here seems only logical
(originally ran 10/26/1977)        COMING SOON
Local airport faces improvements, growth
(originally ran 8/18/1979)        COMING SOON
Runway, houses conflict
Airport could direct Longmont growth
(originally ran 3/14/1980)        COMING SOON
Airport plan draws fire
(originally ran 7/30/1980)        COMING SOON
Airport expansion called ‘threat’
(originally ran 8/1/1980)        COMING SOON
Chamber backs airport expansion
(originally ran 8/2/1980)        COMING SOON
Area residents organize against airport expansion
(originally ran 8/13/1980)        COMING SOON
Residents pose questions
Airport expansion discussed
(originally ran 8/15/1980)        COMING SOON
Residents balk at airport growth
(originally ran 8/29/1980)        COMING SOON
Keep airports we have
(originally ran 8/30/1980)        COMING SOON
Council to look at master plan for airport
(originally ran 11/17/1980)        COMING SOON
Airport growth, W-470 discussed at EDAL forum
(originally ran 4/9/1986)        COMING SOON
Airport plans for expansion garner support
(originally ran 7/31/1986)
Airport issues to be aired at city council meeting
(originally ran 8/17/1986)        COMING SOON
Pilots tell of Longmont airport’s advantages
(originally ran 8/17/1986)        COMING SOON
Delay expected in airport grant
(originally ran 12/18/1986)        COMING SOON
Board decides runway extension top priority
(originally ran 2/7/1987)        COMING SOON
Commission to consider airport issues
(originally ran 4/21/1987)        COMING SOON
If it flies, it’s probably for sale somewhere
‘FBO’ spells service for private pilots
(originally ran 9/11/1987)        COMING SOON
Airport could be major asset for business
(originally ran 9/11/1987)        COMING SOON
Airport Board: No flight pattern change wanted
(originally ran 12/17/1987)        COMING SOON
Airport board waits for word on expansion funds
(originally ran 1/3/1988)            COMING SOON
At municipal airport
Runway project ready to take off
(originally ran 8/20/1988)        COMING SOON
Airport neighbors voice objections
(originally ran 9/20/1988)        COMING SOON
Airport expansion bids opened
(originally ran 9/3/1989)           COMING SOON
Airport aims to be good neighbor
(originally ran 7/21/1990)        COMING SOON
Airport groups oppose plan
Say new homes mean increased complaints
(originally ran 12/12/1991)        COMING SOON
City must ground airport annexation
(originally ran 3/9/1992)        COMING SOON
Airport flap prompts resignation
(originally ran 3/12/1992)        COMING SOON
Voters may get say on annex
(originally ran 3/16/1992)        COMING SOON
No airport quorum
(originally ran 3/17/1992)        COMING SOON
Airport jettisoned?  FAA not ready to abandon VBA
(originally ran 3/18/1992)        COMING SOON
Annexation lands a big controversy
Hot issue may be put before voters
(originally ran 3/18/1992)        COMING SOON
Mayor’s doubt lingers
Council uninformed on annexation, Wilson says
Times-Call Staff Writer
(originally ran 3/20/1992)
LONGMONT – Mayor Fred Wilson said Thursday the City Council might not have made an informed decision on the Meadow View annexation.
Wilson, who with Tom McCoy voted against the request by G.T. Land to annex 220 acres near Vance Brand Airport, sand an insufficient amount of information on how the development would affect the airport made it to the City Council.
“The city staff advised the council that there would be absolutely no problem,” Wilson said.  “But I think it’s still up in the air.”
Initially, the city planning staff said little about the impact of the annexation, the mayor said.
But when the council delayed its vote on the request for two weeks, more information about potential problems the annexation might pose for the airport began trickling in, Wilson said.
“When we make a decision that affects a lot of people, we’d like to get as much information as possible,” he said.
The mayor said city staff members generally do a good job for the council and the relationship between council and staff members is very good.
But, Wilson said, he is troubled about perceptions the City Council relies too much on a staff recommendations.
“The council tends to follow the lead of the staff and in most cases it works out well,” Wilson said.  “But it can get us in the crossfire.
“To a minor degree,” he said, “I’m concerned about how people perceive the relationship of the council and staff.”
City Manager Geoff Dolan said he is aware of that view.
“The staff is perceived as having much more power and influence than they really do,” Dolan said.
In controversial votes, such as the Meadow View annexation, city staff members are often put in a precarious position, Dolan said.
“Unfortunately, when there is a disagreement on the council, the staff inadvertently gets involved or brought into the issue,” Dolan said.
Mayor Wilson said one piece of information he did not receive about the airport issue was a Feb. 12 memo from city transportation planner Sue Reed.
Opponents of the annexation said Reed’s memo indicates city planners never intended to limit residential growth around the airport.  The also said the memo was made public the day after the City Council approved the annexation.
Reed’s comments on the airport are part of a memo she gave to a subcommittee of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The subcommittee is charged with helping to update the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan and its work isn’t expected to be complete for more than a year, said Phil DelVecchio, director of Community Development.
Since the full Planning and Zoning Commission is not expected to review Reed’s memo any time soon, it was considered premature to divert it to the City Council, DelVecchio said.
In addition to Vance Brand Airport, Reed’s memo also discusses other transportation issues in Longmont, DelVecchio said.  Members of the Airport Advisory Board, which asked the City Council to postpone voting on the annexation, were formally invited to review Reed’s comments at the subcommittee hearing on Feb. 12, but no one from the airport board showed up, DelVecchio said.
“There’s never been an instance where we intentionally withheld information from the City Council,” Dolan said.  “We probably err in giving the council too much.”
Airport backers fight back
Recall considered
(originally ran 3/20/1992)        COMING SOON
No sunset strip
New airport manager says future bright
(originally ran 3/21/1992)        COMING SOON
Wanted: Airport Board members
(originally ran 4/3/1992)        COMING SOON
A council reminder: The airport is crucial
(originally ran 4/7/1992)        COMING SOON
New airport hot topic for businesses, county reps.
(originally ran 5/13/1992)        COMING SOON
Stop, don’t runway
Property owners want to throttle airport’s growth
(originally ran 8/6/1992)        COMING SOON
Accusations fly at airport meeting
(originally ran 8/11/1992)        COMING SOON
Councilman hears lowdown on fly-overs
(originally ran 8/12/92)        COMING SOON
(originally ran 8/30/92)        COMING SOON
Crash victim had flown often
(originally ran 10/26/92)
Airport report on shaky ground
(originally ran 11/8/92)        COMING SOON
Airport talks don’t take flight
(originally ran 2/3/93)        COMING SOON
At opposite poles on airport
(originally ran 2/11/93)        COMING SOON
A new takeoff on controversy
Vance Brand Airport
(originally ran 3/7/93        COMING SOON
Airport plan over budget
Environmental report delayed
(originally ran 3/11/93)        COMING SOON
Let’s clear the air on airport issues
(originally ran 3/15/93)        COMING SOON
It’d cost to close airport
(originally ran 3/18/93)        COMING SOON
What’s behind the airport dogfight?
(originally ran 3/21/93)        COMING SOON
Airport needs avigation easement
(originally ran 3/30/93)        COMING SOON
Complaints buzz about airport
Airport officials hope to compromise objections from builders and pilots
(originally ran 3/31/93)        COMING SOON
Warnings won’t fly
Consultant: Homeowners near airport will complain
(originally ran 4/1/93)        COMING SOON
Homes near airport in doubt
(originally ran 4/29/93)        COMING SOON
Meeting grounded
Airport board members angered
(originally ran 4/30/93)        COMING SOON
Pilots: City is letting state money fly away
(originally ran 5/13/93)        COMING SOON
Aerobats fly again today
(originally ran 5/30/93)        COMING SOON
Airport firmly grounded
But council won’t uproot development
(originally ran 6/2/93)        COMING SOON
(originally ran 6/6/93)        COMING SOON
State grants for airport in jeopardy?
(originally ran 11/5/93)        COMING SOON
Airport services all tapped out
Vance Brand businesses seek water link
(originally ran 11/14/93)        COMING SOON
Revised plan calls airport a business hub
(originally ran 11/27/93)        COMING SOON
Airport to celebrate 50th anniversary
(originally ran 6/25/94)        COMING SOON
The airport’s opening
When Longmont walked on air
(originally ran 6/26/94)        COMING SOON
Vance Brand tries to get a handle on soaring hangar demand
(originally ran 9/21/97)        COMING SOON
Airport more than city’s passenger
(originally ran 9/21/97)        COMING SOON
Airport planning for the future
Taxiway first step to use Vance Brand’s south side
(originally ran 10/17/00)        COMING SOON
Officials: Extension is about safety
Vance Brand airport wants feedback on runway plan
(originally ran 4/3/02)        COMING SOON
Airport Beacon to be lowered for neighbor's sake
By Pierrette J. Shields
The Daily Times-Call
Originally ran Monday, August 12, 2002
LONGMONT - The green and white flashing light at the Vance Brand Municipal Airport, a beacon to airplane pilots passing in the night, has a date with a lower elevation.
     Airport manager Tim Barth said the beacon, now perched at the top of an 80 foot tower, generated a complaint from neighbor Robert Zweck, and so it is going to be lowered to 40 feet to keep the light out of his windows.
     The beacon is located atop a cellular phone tower erected by VoiceStream, which pays a $12,000 annual lease to the city for space at the airport.  There is also space for four other cell phone companies to locate equipment on the tower, with the potential profit for the city of $6,000 per location per year.
     Barth said it will cost about $3,000 to have the beacon lowered and that it will still meet Federal Aviation Administration hight limitations, which require a minimum placement at least 35 feet above the ground.
     At a recent meeting of the airport board, during which the panel took up the issue of noise and the facility's responsibilities as a neighbor, officials estimated that Zweck makes about 90 percent of the complaints regarding airport operations.
     Zweck's farm and home lie just to the north on Airport Road.
     A number of pilots at the meeting expressed frustration with the city's efforts to appease Zweck.  Many thought the city goes too far.
     "I would say they are reaching a saturation point," Barth said of the attitude many pilots take regarding Zweck's complaints.
     Earlier this month, the police were called to the airport after Zweck said a pilot "buzzed" his house, and he angrily approached airport management and pilots.
     An alleged threat Zweck left on a voicemail message ruffled pilot Chris Rodriguez, who complained at the board meeting about the city's efforts to placate Zweck.
     Longmont Community Development director Phil DelVecchio said although Zweck generates many of the complaints, the city sees him as an unofficial spokesperson for others in the neighborhood.
     He said the beacon was placed on top of the tower without much forethought about its effects on neighbors.
     "We have a responsibility to do what we can," he said.
Officials want more runway for takeoffs
(originally ran 9/7/02)        COMING SOON
Neighbors oppose expansion
(originally ran 1/7/03)
LONGMONT – A longer runway, a community college campus and the addition of up to 50 new hangars might shape the future of Vance Brand Airport, but not everyone is in favor of such a broad expansion.
Noise, additional traffic and an enchroachment on the area’s quality-of-life tops the list of worries for people watching the plan update.
Neighbors, pilots and others who are interested in the future of the airport are expected to turn out at the Longmont City    Council meeting tonight to weigh in on the aspects of the Airport Master Plan.
The council is scheduled to give direction on the plan so it can be completed, said airport manager Tim Barth.
“Once they make the decisions, we can come up with a pretty accurate forecast of what the airport will look like over the next 10 years,” Barth said.
Front Range Community College is considering locating a campus on 30 acres of the airport’s south side.  But Barth said the campus, which might include an aviation school, is contingent upon another 20-acre annexation that is still in the works.
The possible extension of the airport’s 4,800-foot runway to 5,650-feet is one of the most touchy subjects in the plan.  The runway extension to the northwest would cost more than $2.5 million and would have no target construction date until a Federal Aviation Administration matching grant could be won.
Airport officials have said they extension is for safety, giving pilots the extra runway to abort a take-off if needed.
But Vance Brand does not have a history of safety problems.
Creighton Stewart, who lives to west of the airport, said he is most concerned about the lengthening of the runway.
Stewart said the added length is likely to shift the flight pattern used by pilots, causing additional noise.  He also said that, although it is not the stated intent of the project, larger airplanes might come to frequent the airport.
“The runway can accommodate them now, but I believe the length is a limitation to the (larger) aircraft now,” Stewart said.
Suzanne Webel, president of the Table Mountain Association, which represents as many as 1,000 families who live west of the airport, has followed the progress of the master plan update but said the idea of a possible community college campus at the airport is a surprise.
“We’re concerned that expanding the airport will deteriorate the quality of life here,” she said.
“We’re on record as opposing the lengthening runway,” Webel said.  “The big issue now is the…school.”
Barth noted that the council will be able to limit the number of new hangars developed onsite.  He said the airport is roomy enough to be the base for 500 aircraft and that right now it has about 345 – at two planes per hangar.
Already, 32 additional hangars have been approved on top of the original ones since 1999, and up to 50 more can be approved.  But Barth said the recommendation is for only enough hangars to accommodate 500 total aircraft, or about 25 additional hangars on top of those already approved.
Barth said the airport accommodates 112,000 operations – take-offs and landings – a year.  If all 50 hangars were built out, operations would increase to 130,000, he said.
Stewart believes city council, which does not represent residents outside of city limits, will hear neighbors’ worries.
“We’re at their mercy as far as (city council members) recognizing us as people who have a problem,” he said.
Council rejects extension of airport runway
(originally ran 1/8/03)
LONGMONT – In two split votes, the Longmont City Council on Tuesday night rejected both a proposal that would allow the extension of the runway at the Vance Brand Municipal Airport and another that would have left it the way it is.
The possibility of including an extension of the runway from 4,800 feet to 5,650 feet was left to the council for possible inclusion in the update of the Vance Brand Municipal Airport Master Plan, a document that provides direction on the airport’s development and lays the groundwork for federal and state grants to achieve that development.
The council last night was asked to settle three outstanding questions to allow airport staff and consultants to solidify a preliminary draft of the document.
Dozens of pilots and airport neighbors packed the council chambers at the Civic Center and argued both for and against the long-contentious issue. Pilots said they believed the 850-foot extension would provide added safety in the event of an aborted takeoff, while neighbors claimed en masse that air traffic at Vance Brand already causes intolerable noise and a runway extension would only serve to increase traffic and noise.
The council split similarly, ultimately neither accepting an extension nor accepting that the runway should be left alone.
“None of the documents here tonight are really compelling that there is a safety issue,” said Councilman Marty Block, who moved to reject the runway expansion after the hours long public hearing and discussion.
Block, along with council members Greg Winger and Tom McCoy, supported that motion, which was defeated with Mayor Julia Pirnack and council members Roger Lange, Doug Brown and Fred Wilson dissenting.
Pirnack’s later motion to accept the extension failed, with Block, Winger, Lange and McCoy dissenting.
Both Lange and Brown said the airport’s board should find an alternative to lengthening the runway to address safety concerns.  Airport manager Tim Barth said the Federal Aviation Administration asked that the master plan address the issue of a possible extension.
“They realize that it is a local question, and if you do not want to lengthen it, the FAA will be OK with that,” Barth said.
The Airport Advisory Board recommended to the council that the extension be included in the master plan. Such inclusion would not have meant that the extension would be completed in the near future, but would have stood as the vision for the airport’s growth.
The council also was asked to approve the designation of 30 acres of the airport’s south side for “non-aviation development,” a question apparently triggered by Front Range Community College’s interest in possibly locating its long-planned Longmont campus on the property. But Lange said he felt he didn’t have enough information on the proposal.
College President Tom Gonzales told the council that the 20 acres left of developable land off Quail Road near the Longmont Recreation Center simply isn’t enough for the campus.
“We want to be here,” he said, adding later, “What you have here is an opportunity for us to work with you.”
The council voted unanimously to ask Barth to bring back additional information on the proposal, thus delaying the full development of the master plan’s preliminary draft for at least a couple of weeks.
Airport plan in the works
(originally ran 1/13/03)
LONGMONT – With the City Council’s direction that the runway at Vance Brand Municipal Airport should not be expanded, the issue about the dedication of 30 acres for a new community college campus is still outstanding.
The Airport Advisory Board and airport staff are about midstream through the process of updating the local airport’s master plan, a basic outline of projects and improvements. Airport manager Tim Barth said the last update, in 1993, missed the mark on just how many aircraft would be using the airport at this point, and adjustments are due.
“We’ve exceeded most of the forecasts, if you will, up through the year 2013,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to maintain master plans. Once approved, the documents are used to back up grant applications to the federal agency.
The requirement is backed with federal money. Consulting firm Knight-Piesold of Denver is working on the update for $150,000. The FAA paid for 90 percent of that, the state picked up 5 percent and the balance was paid locally.
The master planning process to date has acknowledged that the airport utility is strong and growing, with recommendations for additional hangars, the extension of the runway and use of some property for Front Range Community College.
Vance Brand serves as a regional hub for recreational aviation and is home to dozens of small aircraft.
“The noise is kind of like having the guy three houses down mow his lawn for 12 hours a day,” said Chris Martinson of the Boulder Hills Home Owners Association, testifying to the council in opposition of airport growth.
The council on Tuesday approved the inclusion of a voluntary noise-abatement plan to help alleviate the problem of residents having their homes “buzzed” by recreational pilots, but the plan cannot be enforced. Once a plane leaves the ground, it is out of the city’s jurisdiction.
Barth said the airport boomed with the economy and has slowed again with it. Many argue that Vance Brand is vital to the economic health of Longmont, allowing business people and consumers to fly directly in and pump in outside money from people who use the airport and shop in Longmont, but who don’t live here.
“The growth of the airport is pretty well following the growth and vitality of Longmont,” Bob Leyner told the council, while lobbying for the runway extension.
“A good plan is to keep your options open.”
Others argue that the airport is already a bad neighbor and allowing it to grow will only make it worse.
The Longmont City Council last Tuesday decided, 4-3, to reject a recommendation to extend the 4,800-foot runway by 850 feet to give pilots more room to stop in the case of problematic takeoffs. However, in a puzzling turn, the council also rejected, 4-3, a motion that would have left the runway as it is.
Airport neighbors turned out in force to oppose what they saw as the first step to more traffic with larger planes, although pilots testified that they would feel safer with the additional asphalt and that the grade of the runway wouldn’t be able to sustain the weight of the larger planes.
The extension had been a major discussion point as part of the public meetings on the update, but the possibility of allocating space to Front Range Community College for a Longmont campus turned out to be a last-minute question.
“All they have done is put in a letter of intent,” Barth said of Front Range.
The council deferred the decision to allocate the acreage until additional information could be provided.
Barth and the airport board asked the council to consider allocating 30 acres of airport property to “non-aviation” development.
Tom Gonzalez, president of Front Range Community College, told the council that the property at Longmont’s Quail Campus, near the recreation center and museum, is too small for the campus that the college wants to build.
Along with the 30 acres from the airport, the college would have to secure another 20 acres from another property owner to have enough room for the full campus, which would be a full-service school that might include an aviation program.
“We really want to be here; we’ve said that for years,” Gonzalez said.
The college now operates out of a strip mall on North Main Street.
“The Boulder County campus really has experienced significant growth,” Gonzalez said.
Along with the designation of land for new development, the plan might also include additional hangars for aircraft based out of Vance Brand. Right now there are 124 hangars, Barth said, and they are all full.
Barth said the board and consultants need the council’s direction to complete the master planning process. The community college point is still outstanding, but should be settled sometime in the next couple of weeks when Barth returns with a more complete presentation.
4/4/10  Airport passed over
Officials say longer runway would boost business
By Rachel Carter
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call  (link to original article)
LONGMONT — In his office at Vance Brand Municipal Airport, airport manager Tim Barth plays a voice message from a Seagate official saying why the company flies its corporate plane in and out of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County.
He prints out an e-mail from Amgen about why company executives also fly into the Jeffco airport.
He shares letters from other businesses about why they don’t use Longmont’s airport.
The reasons are typically the same: Longmont’s runway is too short to accommodate many of the small corporate jets that businesses use.
“Right now, we make it difficult for those people who want to do business in Longmont,” Barth said. “They go to Jeffco or to (the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport) and drive here. Or they don’t come here at all.”
Time to update
The Colorado Aeronautical Board on Tuesday approved a $78,000 grant for Vance Brand airport — $38,000 of which will be used as matching funds to update the airport master plan.
But Barth is still waiting to find out if the airport will get Federal Aviation Administration funding for the project.
The money is in limbo in Congress, although Barth is hoping they’ll approve the funding this month and the FAA will cut the airport a grant check in May.
That would allow the city to start the master plan update in June and finish early next year, he said. The process will include two or three public open houses to get feedback from residents, he noted.
“The FAA and the state will be involved, the airport community will be involved, and the greater community will be involved,” Barth said.
The FAA requires every airport to update its master plan every several years. The plan outlines an airport’s capital projects and maintenance needs, and forecasts aviation demands, such as hangar space, parking and fuel.
“We can only get federal and state funding for projects if they’re included in the master plan,” Barth said.
It will cost about $192,000 to hire consultants to update the master plan, but the FAA will pay 95 percent of that, Barth said. The Colorado Division of Aeronautics already put up its matching grant money, and the city would have to pitch in about $12,000, which would come from the self-supporting airport fund.
Longmont is losing out
Barth, Mayor Bryan Baum and aviation business owners are touting a runway extension — to make it as long as 6,200 feet — in the next master plan update because they say it will drive economic development and create jobs.
The city couldn’t extend the runway beyond 6,200 feet because North 75th Street borders it to the west, and the airport must maintain a “runway protection zone.”
The current runway is 4,800 feet, Barth said, but that is too short for many small corporate jets (such as Falcon 50s, Cessna Citations and Beechcrafts) to fully fuel up or to carry full passenger loads because doing so would make them too heavy to take off from Longmont.
Longmont also is losing out, Barth argues, because a business jet that can’t fully fuel up here buys fuel elsewhere.
He pointed to CBL & Associates Properties, which used to own Twin Peaks Mall. Company officials would fly to Longmont to do business, but when they left, they would have to stop at another nearby airport to take on fuel before flying back to Chattanooga, Tenn.
The city gets 10 cents on every gallon of fuel sold at the airport: 6 cents from the businesses selling it and 4 cents from the state. About 250,000 gallons of fuel were sold at the airport last year — that’s about $25,000 in revenue for the airport.
“We’re missing out on a lot of fuel sales,” he said.
Circle around again
This isn’t the first time city officials have talked up a runway extension.
When the city updated the airport master plan in 2002, consultants recommended lengthening the runway.
It was a controversial issue. Pilots and business owners argued a longer runway would increase safety and boost business. Neighbors claimed en masse that air traffic at Vance Brand already creates intolerable noise and a runway extension would only increase traffic and noise.
Longmont City Council members were similarly split on the issue.
When they voted on it in April 2003, the council ultimately didn’t approve including a runway extension in the master plan — which meant it wasn’t eligible for federal and state funding, which meant it wouldn’t happen.
‘Economic boon’
City officials and business owners are again hoping to make the case that a longer runway would mean more business and more jobs.
“This airport is an economic driver,” Barth said. “Several corporations here would love to do their business nonstop.”
Larry Kuebrich, owner and president of Air West Flight Center, said it would improve safety for pilots who are landing and taking off, and it would drive more business at the airport — and in the community.
“We’re the shortest runway on the Front Range on the I-25 corridor,” Kuebrich said.
Not only would he sell more fuel (which means more money for the airport fund), but a longer runway also could create more business opportunities on the field: repair shops, leasable hangar space, maybe even a restaurant, he said.
“They’re not interested in putting that here now because we don’t have a longer runway,” Kuebrich said.
Barth said Vance Brand has the chance to be the premier airport in Boulder County. Neither Boulder Municipal nor Erie Municipal airports can extend their runways because of land issues, he said.
Barth pointed out that Centennial Airport, the second busiest general aviation airport in the nation, sits next to Interstate 25 — and right next to where the Denver Tech Center was developed.
Jeffco, which is just off U.S. Highway 36, expanded about 20 years ago, he said. And then Interlocken was built.
The Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport has an 8,500-foot runway — and is now surrounded by a new regional mall, new office buildings, new hotels, the new Medical Center of the Rockies and the new Larimer County fairgrounds complex, Barth said.
The Greeley-Weld County Airport in 2000 extended its runway to 10,000 feet, and industrial development “has taken off,” he said.
“It’s a huge economic boon, and it’s passing us by,” Barth said. “It has driven growth because businesses use airplanes. That is what corporations do.”
“We need to decide whether (Vance Brand) stays a small aviation community, mainly focused on recreation, or becomes an economic driver for Longmont.”
By the numbers
4,800-foot runway
6,200 feet maximum runway length
350 planes based at the airport
124 hangars at the airport
250,000 gallons of fuel sold last year

(Comments to article)
Residents nearby better hope that this extension does not take place.  Small jets are a lot louder than small prop planes.  Of course there are some that will make the argument”you moved near the airport,what did you expect?”  Of course that won’t pertain in this case because the use would be completely different than what it is now.  Sounds like another fight brewing between people who wish to keep their quality of life and those that would give up their first born for a few tax dollars.
All wise, Longmont,Co., 4/4/2010 7:41 AM

no to airport extension. the constant whining noise of skydiver plane is bad enough. jets arriving at the airport will ruin the quality of life in this town. no to airport extension.
Peggotty, Longmont, Colorado, 4/4/2010 7:58 AM

It sounds like there may be increased noise for folks who live near the airport due to some combination of frequency or airplane type. Can this impact be quantified. Likewise, the comment in the article, “several corporations here would love to do their business nonstop,” is misleading without reference. Who and how much seem to be missing from the article.
cheerios, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 8:48 AM

I say yes to the extension for all the obvious reasons; more revenue into Longmont, more jobs in Longmont, possible charter flights out of Longmont, more exciting airplanes in Longmont, and an increase in living standards.
xyz123, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 8:50 AM

Noise = business. Longmont needs business. Look at the examples given for airport expansion and what happened around them.  I see articles all the time complaining about Longmont not doing anything for business development. When something is proposed that would help, no one wants it?  We cant do nothing and hope things get better.
JStonum, Longmont, Colorado, 4/4/2010 8:53 AM

It’s great to see that now that we don’t have the council do nothing’s McCoy or Benker taking care of the airport, we are finally looking to better utilize one of our great city assets rather than making into a costly prairie dog sanctuary! As for the airport noise, great care will be taken to ensure that what is done is fair for all involved.
RedHair, longmont, co, 4/4/2010 9:09 AM

Last time I checked, business executives travel on weekdays. Won’t most of us be at work when the Seagate and Amgen folks arrive and depart?
SingleTrackSteve, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 9:28 AM

Business executives travel weekdays,weekends,nights and early in the morning…regularly.
All wise, Longmont,Co., 4/4/2010 10:34 AM

Have you ever thought of this – Seagate and Amgen employees and execs may live on the W. side of Longmont. They don’t their OWN property values to plummet just because a few execs need to save a moment flying in and out. Both sites aren’t corporate headquarters, and they don’t need EZ flight access. Amgen is a manufacturing plant.
nickshaver, longmont, co, 4/4/2010 10:40 AM

How far away is Boulder’s airport from W. Longmont. Are you folks smoking medical MJ?
nickshaver, longmont, co, 4/4/2010 10:42 AM

Isnt the city sales tax %8.05 and aviation fuel is well over $3.00 per gallon so why doesnt the city get 24 cents per gallon just a question
conservelongmont, Longmont,colorado, 4/4/2010 10:49 AM

These corporate jets certainly aren’t any louder than the skydiving buzzsaw plane, and they would all be flying in and out mostly during normal business hours. I highly doubt there’d be much jet traffic at night. Therefore, I say do it, it will bring in more business….big spending Execs, fuel purchases, etc……and that’s what Longmont needs.
MichaelG, Longmont, Colorado, 4/4/2010 11:17 AM

MichaelG,  Very well said… Longmont definitely needs to do lot more to attract big businesses and their executives.  One big executive from a large company has the potential to being 100s or more jobs to here.
brad_sk, Longmont, 4/4/2010 11:37 AM

Wow! Interesting how little understanding some people have about businesses and airports. It’s not just people they want to fly in and out, it is also product. More businesses means more money for Longmont, more jobs, etc. Jets move faster than prop planes that means they will be in and out faster as well and the noise will be of shorter duratiion. This airport has needed expansion for more than 20 years. The time to do it is now. For you homeowners who are complaining aobut the noise…when there is a road named Airport, the odds are pretty good that there will be an airport near by. The Vance Brand Airport is in a perfect location and Longs Peak shields it from the worst of the wind. It is an excellent alternative when the winds are so high that landing at the Boulder Airport is dangerous.
Vigilant Patriot, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 11:50 AM

The dumbing of government down first got a foot hold in the school systems when they started hiring administrators as full time professionals. Over time those who were delegated management powers over spending money instead of making money became the tail wagging the dog. So spending money has become the predominant economic theme of the day by those who now call themselves “progressive” vis a vis everybody else who has to pay for the few who spend the public money. You have to make money to spend it if you aren’t the government who prints their own spending money. Air ports, if left alone by progressives are money makers. Some of the commits today about Vance Brand growing prove political progressive politics to “control” to “rise above” the status quo are oxymoron.
KC, Longmont, 4/4/2010 1:04 PM

Just say NO to Vance Brand expansion, Council! This was a terrible idea in 2002 and it’s a terrible idea today. Many hundreds of neighbors successfully killed off this bogus plan when it was floated back then, and we will reluctantly re-enter the fray again. Note, airport diehards: we’re still here. Just because a few yahoos want to pollute the entire area with noise and jet fuel residue so they can have bigger, fancier toys in the sky doesn’t mean everyone on the west side of Longmont should have to put up with them. I hope the Airport Master Plan doesn’t get its funding, so we can all go back to the peace and quiet we enjoy out here in RURAL Boulder County.
Airport Neighbor, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 2:55 PM

The jets are MUCH quieter than prop planes. This is a LONG overdue expansion that will benefit our city greatly. Peggotty – you disagree with anything that the new council does just for the sake of being petty and angry your gals lost. Get over it – when your property values go up, feel free to donate the increase to whatever social program you feel (except you won’t as you’re a net taker and want everything given to you, not vice-versa). And to the person who mentioned Boulder – they can’t have jets because their runways are too small and they are land-locked and unable to expand. We have a leg up on them on this one and we should take every advantage of it we can so that WE’LL attract the businesses, not them!
Longmonter , Longmont, Colorado, 4/4/2010 3:41 PM

All Wise summed it up nicely: “those that would give up their first born for a few tax dollars.” Ideology will drive this decision, not facts and figures.  Those on Longmont’s west side are going to have a huge fight on their hands. Those who did vote, voted for this council majority. Reminds me of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”
also vigilant, blue state, USA, 4/4/2010 3:56 PM

Airport Neighbor: the only way you’d get the unrealistic “silence” that you really want is for the airport to close, and that ain’t gonna happen. Corporate Jets are relatively quiet compared to many prop planes, and there’s no reason to think that having jets is going to create some type of jet fuel pollution issue. I’m guessing that the airport was there before you moved to where you live, so please, face reality and get over your idyllic dream of having the “dome of silence” over your house.
MichaelG, Longmont, Colorado, 4/4/2010 4:32 PM

I’d love to see a major jet runway on the W. side. It would help prop up the E. side property values. Get it? “Prop” up? Get it? Prop? Like a propeller?
nickshaver, longmont, co, 4/4/2010 5:30 PM

Airport neighbor your problem is with the system dumbing your reading ability down so by 2003 you could not read the restriction on your property deed that reads you are buying in an airport overlay zone. One would think the Boulevard named airport road would mean something as well. You buy where you buy; that does not give you the right to come in and dictate to your neighbors what they may or may not do to please you. That is where Longmont’s City Council dropped the ball for at least 6 years with council members caving into the people who love to spend other people’s money to buy cheap votes from air port neighbors like yourself thinking money grows on trees instead of having to work for it or allow others to make money in economic progress benefiting the entire region..
Wrangler, Longmont, 4/4/2010 6:01 PM

Here we go again with the regressive progressives whose goal is to turn us into a 3rd world country. Our economy needs a boost and if you read the article we have been losing out on new companies relocating here because of the length of the runway. These naysayers are probably the same ones who go into a tailspin over global warming…now called climate change to try and circumvent that boondoggle as one thing after another is shown to have been another bit of misinformtion.
Vigilant Patriot, Longmont, CO, 4/4/2010 6:01 PM

This runway expansion is much needed. People love to complain that there is no new business in Longmont, but fight any growth or expansion. To the people that complain about the noise, don’t move near an airport.
FB, longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 8:07 AM

Airport neighbor, you may live in RURAL Boulder County…but you live near an airport. One that planes fly into. Did I mention that you live near an airport? Was there something written into the contract of your house that stated no planes would be flying into it or that the airport would never be improved upon or that the runway would not be extended? Did you hope that if you moved in, the airport would just magically disappear? Why don’t you try being a good neighbor to the airport instead of expecting it to give way to your desire to live in a RURAL area?
RedHair, longmont, co, 4/5/2010 9:08 AM

I bet it would have been beneficial to have been able to include the pros of a larger airport to the Google execs if we had built a larger airport the last time this came up. That may very well become a missed opportunity because of the opposition. JM2C
SentryOne, Longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 9:28 AM

In today’s world the unchangeable fact is that technological change happens beyond our control altering entire affected communities’ economic situations. We have choices. We can whine, cry and make Longmont a miserable place to live in. In November voters fed up with the negativity that past City leadership had taken elected new leaders in tune with the people’s vision for future Longmont. The people know a great many unhappy things in their lives can be changed by the improved economics a lengthened runway at Vance Brand Municipal Airport can provide and have spoken by their recent change of Longmont’s leadership. If we know what has to be changed and have the courage as a community to confront the challenges before us that cannot be changed Longmont can deal with the inevitable. The naysayers and flatlanders had their say and chance to confront the challenges. Their approach only made Longmont problems worse. Now it’s time to get on with the changes to the runway that are 10 years over due.
KC, Longmont, 4/5/2010 10:11 AM

The last sentence of this article is the most important. We (the people of Boulder County) need to decide whether (Vance Brand) stays a small aviation community, mainly focused on recreation, or becomes an economic driver for Longmont. This is an interesting debate and is one that affects all of Boulder County, not just residents near Airport Rd. It also supersedes political ideology and the petty name-calling that exist on this blog. This is a quality of life issue for everyone. Allowing jet aircraft to approach and depart Vance Brand will affect surrounding communities such Niwot, Berthoud, Firestone and others. The airports at Jeff Co and Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport are ideally located for corporate jet operations as they minimize the effects on residential areas. What must be made clear is that jet aircraft are NOT quieter than turbo-prop aircraft. I know because I occasionally fly for my job. My company maintains our planes in a hangar at Jeff Co and the short drive to Broomfield is easy. There are many faults to Longmont’s current economic situation. And having a short runway at Vance Brand is very very low on the list of reasons.
crwfrdjr, Longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 11:32 AM

“This is a quality of life issue for everyone. ” I disagree. This is a quality of life issue only for people that choose to live near an airport.
FB, longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 2:22 PM

The tired “you live by the airport so too bad ” argument does not pertain.Residents are used to the airport as it stands,Allowing louder and more frequent flights changes everything.It will decrease the quality of life in the area significantly and drive home values down.  Want to expand?,compensate all affected,if not,come up with a new argument.  Living on a road called “airport” does not mean you expected to see jets in your backyard.
All wise, Longmont,Co., 4/5/2010 4:56 PM

“The tired “you live by the airport so too bad ” argument does not pertain” Sure it does. Anytime anyone complains about the train noise, most of the posters here reply, don’t live near the train. Can’t have it both ways.
FB, longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 5:30 PM

The “don’t live by the airport”argument only pertains to people who complain about existing airport noise.  It does not pertain to expanding the airport and allowing jets to land in a place where they NEVER LANDED when people built or purchased their homes.  I would say that people who purchased near the airport had a reasonable expectation that jets were not in Vance Brand’s future.
All wise, Longmont,Co., 4/5/2010 5:52 PM

“I would say that people who purchased near the airport had a reasonable expectation that jets were not in Vance Brand’s future.” Just like people that purchased near the trains did not expect the horn nosie law to change. It’s just a couple of corporate jets, not 757. Plus many of these companies(IBM, AMGEN, Seagate) were promised a longer runway for their jets as incentive for them to build here. Longmont needs to honor their promises.
FB, longmont, CO, 4/5/2010 5:54 PM

I love aviation, but don’t support extending the airport to fly over paid execs into Longmont. Jefferson County Airport is 27 minutes away. The leap from a small aviation airport to one that supports corporate jets is a huge leap that will negatively impact the surrounding areas. The argument that it will lead to economic growth is bogus. Council, don’t get fooled into this proposal by airport users (which we learned in 2002 don’t even live in Longmont).
Commenter, Longmont, co, 4/5/2010 8:24 PM

If by “paid execs” you mean those who run companies that employ Longmonters, then it’s to Longmont’s benefit to explore this again. And as for those who expected the airport runway to remain as is…those who are closely associated with and do business with the airport wanted to do this back in 2002. Anyone who moved into the area after 2002 should have been aware that this was a possibility. And again, I’m sure the idea will be approached with great care and with attention to creating noise abatement procedures that will impact the least amount of residents possible.
RedHair, longmont, co, 4/6/2010 1:30 AM

Whatever can be done to decrease the number of black helicopters, let’s do that. As always, the loudest lowest common denominator, shall force all of you to be regulated by my delusions.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-in. An event now taking place in Broomfield instead of Longmont. Experimental aircraft engineering was much busier at VB before the fly-in was sent packing. A good deal of my customer base is experimenters. There was a distinct drop in aviators shopping local products and services. The complaint was that it was too many people.  The decision was made then. VB is a crop duster’s parking lot.
Paul Tiger, Longmont, CO, 4/6/2010 6:15 AM

It is time for Longmont, Firestone and Lyons to form their own County – COUNTY OF SAINT VRAIN – and break away from socialist Boulder County, otherwise our communities will continue to be bedroom satellites Boulder services with our taxpayers bearing Boulders’s burdens for the working poor.
KC, Longmont, 4/6/2010 9:14 AM

I just don’t get the economic advantage for Longmont in extending the runway. Can someone explain (excluding the money the airport would make selling fuel, etc)? Re attracting companies to Longmont, any exec who factors in 30 min of saved time (vs landing at Jefferson and driving) is probably not one I want to rely on for future Longmont economic stability. Wise corporate investment decisions should be focusing on more important criteria like cost of living and education of potential employee pool.
Commenter, Longmont, co, 4/7/2010 7:01 PM

I agree with Commenter below. No decent executive is going to make decisions based on an extra hour of travel time when he flies out to make on sight visits.  Decisions are going to be based on taxes, electricity rates, water rates, education level of the local population etc.
Each of the areas that had economic booms discussed in this article had a lot more to do with taxes and real-estate then it had to do with a near by airfield for their corporate jet.
dantheman, Longmont, CO, 4/12/2010 4:00 PM
5/9/10   Neighbors of Longmont's Vance Brand airport fight extension talk
Mayor argues that longer runway would bring economic benefits
By Clay Evans, Camera Staff Writer  (link to original article)

Concerned about potential impacts, neighbors are abuzz over renewed talk of extending the runway at Longmont's Vance Brand Municipal Airport.

Jane Shellenberger, of Hygiene, said she first learned of a possible extension when she read a profile of Mayor Bryan Baum in Longmont Magazine. Paraphrasing Baum, the article said the mayor has a "dream of expanding the ... airport to accommodate companies with corporate jets."

"This was a complete surprise to me," said Shellenberger, who has lived on her property west of the airport for 10 years. She began to organize meetings and said many neighbors oppose the idea, which she said had been rejected by area residents in the past.

She said she was particularly concerned with increased noise and potential disturbance to wildlife in the area.

"Everybody here accepts that the airport is here. But we have a clear understanding that it's a small, local airport where maybe once in a while a jet flies in," she said. "If you open it to more corporate jets, we are concerned. I think anybody who lives in this community has a perfect right to defend our quality of life."

Baum said last month that an extension is needed primarily to improve safety at the airport.

"By having an extended runway, you are actually looking out for the safety of not only the people around there but also pilots," he said.

Baum also said a longer runway would provide economic benefits to the city. He said corporate jets sometimes land in Broomfield or Fort Collins because of limitations at Vance Brand. Because of the runway's length, fully fueled planes cannot take off and "there are aircraft not flying out of Longmont due to not being efficient," according to documents pertaining to the city's airport master plan.

If corporate executives choose not to touch down in Longmont, Baum said, the city will miss economic opportunities. For example, he said, the CEO of Chik-fil-A was able to spend only 20 minutes in Longmont when a new franchise opened in November because he had to drive 45 minutes each way to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County.

"He's the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and he doesn't get a fair shake in our community," Baum said.

Baum also said the Federal Aviation Administration would likely pick up 95 percent of the tab for construction.

But at least one City Council member said nobody has yet demonstrated that extending the runway would provide any significant economic benefit.

"I think we would end up extending the runway for about three (companies) that already use the airport," Councilman Sean McCoy said.

McCoy said he might support the idea if backers can demonstrate an economic benefit and there is citizen support.

"But ... people didn't want us to extend the runway when it's come up before," he said.

Baum agreed that public support would be crucial to moving forward, but said he thinks the economic argument might sway many area residents in the midst of the current downturn.

Whether to extend the runway is one of many questions that the city is considering placing on its upcoming Customer Satisfaction Survey. But members of the Airport Advisory Board voted April 8 to tell the council that it "feels the time for the question is premature and would be more effective at a later date," according to draft meeting minutes.

Airport manager Tim Barth said a runway extension is a long way off, if it happens at all. He said the city is waiting to see if it receives a federal grant to complete an airport master plan. If the city were to receive the grant tomorrow, he said, it would still be nine or 10 months before the master plan is created and officials sit down with the FAA to discuss even the option of an extension.

"This thing isn't going to happen overnight," Barth said.