Heber City Preparing For Airport Master Plan Update

Heber City Council’s meeting Tuesday included discussion around the update to the airport master plan. Council members considered names of those who would serve on committees to help guide the process.

The Heber Valley Airport master plan was last updated in 2003. The planned update to the master plan has left many with questions. Heber City Manager Matt Brower has spoken often of the purpose of the master plan update. He says the master plan can be thought of as a business plan for the airport, and that the plan is not a mandate to expand the airport. Brower has also noted that the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has begun withholding funds from the airport until the master plan is updated.

The master plan will cost an estimated $580,000 to execute with the FAA covering 90%, the state of Utah funding about five percent and Heber City covering about five-percent. The estimated cost to the city is $27,173 which has been included in this year’s fiscal budget.

At the August 20th City Council meeting Brower presented the steps ahead of the start of the master planning efforts, which will begin in the next month or two.

“The scope of work for the airport master plan calls for the creation of two ad hoc committees,” Brower explained. “The first is a broad steering committee which we’re advocating between 10 and 15 members. I have listed on your agenda item 14 members essentially; some are still to be determined.”

The list included representatives from Heber City, the Airport Advisory Board, Wasatch County Council, the towns of Daniels, Midway and Charleston, Pilot Makers Flight Academy, and at-large representatives. Brower also discussed the need for another, smaller committee.

“The Technical Advisory Committee, again it is exactly as the name suggests,” Brower continued. “We need people who know the business of aeronautics, know that business of airports. Mike Duggan has agreed to serve I expect that Travis Biggs would be on this committee.”

In addition to Duggin—the Chair of the Airport Advisory Board—and Biggs—the Airport Manager—Brower suggested two local business owners who operate at the airport. Barry Hancock of Pilot Maker Advanced Flight Academy and Nadim Abu Haidar of the airport’s fixed-base operator OK3 Air. Council member Heidi Franco asked about the suggestion.

“So you’re saying that you want a commercial operator and an airport tenant to be our two commercial businesses?” Franco asked.

“I think I would love to have our FBO,” Brower said. “I think our FBO has to be a part of this committee. I also think that Barry would also provide tremendous value as his expertise is extensive. Whether it’s Barry or his chief operation manager, he can determine of his organization who should be there. But, I think Barry should be invited and I think Nadim should be invited.”

Franco also noted that whoever is chosen for the TAC needs to be committed.

“We really need work horses on the TAC,” Franco said.

“Yes, we do,” Brower agreed.

“And so, it is not going to do us any good to have someone that’s not willing to put in the time and work and all of that,” Franco explained.

“Agreed, agreed yeah this is a 18 to 24-month commitment,” Brower said.

Council members Wayne Hardman and Heidi Franco volunteered to represent the city council on the Community Advisory Committee. The rest of that committee, and the Technical Advisory Committee are scheduled to be finalized at the September 3rd Heber City Council meeting.

Read the original story at KPCW.org