City Council Report

City Council Meeting: October 4, 2011

Agenda Item:  4-A  

To:               Mayor and City Council 

From:           Rod Gould, City Manager

Subject:        Proposed Phase II Public Process Regarding the Santa Monica Airport Campus

 

 

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council review and comment on the Santa Monica Airport Campus Phase I Public Process findings and direct staff to proceed with the  proposed Phase II Public Process concept.

 

Executive Summary

The City has embarked on a rigorous three-phase public process regarding the 227-acre Santa Monica Airport Campus (Attachment A), which includes 187 acres of “Aviation Land” that must be used for aeronautical activities and 40 acres of “Non-aviation Land” that is open to other uses.  All land and building leases throughout the Airport Campus as well as the current operating agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expire in 2015.  Given the 2015 timeframe, on December 14, 2010, Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate and execute professional services agreements with The RAND Corporation (RAND) for a study of best practices and conceptual uses that could be compatibly located at the Airport Campus land and Point C Partners (Point C) to formulate and manage a preliminary community interview process regarding the range of possibilities for the future of the Airport Campus. 

 

On February 22, 2011, Council authorized staff to proceed with Phase I of a proposed comprehensive three-phased process that included a professional services agreement with HR&A Advisors Inc. (HR&A) to analyze the general economic and fiscal impacts of the current operation and activity at the Airport Campus.  This Phase I process has resulted in findings regarding best practices at general aviation facilities in relation to local communities by RAND, results of interviews and surveys of the public by Point C, and the Airport’s economic impact on the local and regional economies by HR&A.  Phase I also included the development of the format for the Phase II public process of focus groups, which is proposed in the body of this report.  In Phase III, the studies from Phase I and the results of the public dialogue from Phase II will be analyzed in depth within their thematic outcomes and presented to Council for consideration of potential policies and actions in early 2013.

 

Phase II, as proposed, includes a comprehensive, transparent, and open public dialogue through facilitated focus groups.  The purpose of the focus groups is to gather and record community comments and ideas with the ultimate goal of formulating, discussing, and prioritizing potential policies and actions in advance of Phase III.  Phase III will involve strategic analysis of the themes articulated in Phases I and II in regards to the Airport Campus and its facilities.

 

Background

Historic Context

The Santa Monica Airport is one of the oldest airports in the United States, and the oldest, continuously operating airport in Los Angeles County.  It is also one of the most historically significant given its vital role in the development of the modern air transportation system.  The Airport was first established in 1917 and the original 170 acres of the Airport were acquired by the City in 1926.  From the late 1920s through the early 1970s, the Airport was home to the largest employer in the City, the Douglas Aircraft Company. 

 

In 1924, Douglas Aircraft and the Airport first gained fame when the Douglas World Cruiser biplanes were the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe.  By 1929, Douglas Aircraft had enlarged its Santa Monica Airport operations and began to ramp-up production and testing of its early airliners, the DC-3 and DC-4, which launched commercial aviation.  During the years immediately preceding U.S. entry into World War II, Douglas Aircraft became a major defense contractor, employing up to 44,000 workers who worked three around-the-clock daily shifts, seven days a week.  It transformed the city as thousands of new homes were built for the Douglas Aircraft workers, fostering the growth of communities such as Sunset Park and other neighborhoods around the Airport.

 

In 1941, the federal government leased most of the Airport from the City to provide protection for Douglas Aircraft and participated in expanding the publicly-owned facility to its current 227 acres to accommodate the burgeoning production of military aircraft.  The runway expansions included replacing the earlier two-runway "X" configuration and expanding the runway length east to near Bundy Avenue and west to 23rd Street to accommodate the current single 5,000-foot-long runway designated as Runway 21 (for departures to the west) and Runway 3 (for departures to the east) and two full-length parallel taxiways.

 

With the end of World War II, the federal government wanted to relinquish its leasehold.  The City and federal government executed an Instrument of Transfer on August 10, 1948, and the City resumed operation of the Airport and constructed Airport Avenue in 1950 in order to provide access for general aviation facilities on the south side of the runway.  In 1959, Douglas Aircraft developed the DC-8 commercial jet to compete with Boeing’s 707.  Over the next few years, Douglas Aircraft developed plans and proposed that the City lengthen the runway to accommodate this new jet aircraft and acquire additional acreage to build new corporate offices and other facilities so Douglas Aircraft could establish a regional aerospace and electronics hub.  The City declined, and Douglas Aircraft shifted its jet manufacturing to the Long Beach Airport.  Research and development of missile production and sub-assembly work continued at the Santa Monica Airport plant until the early 1970s when Douglas Aircraft closed its Santa Monica operation and left the Airport.  The relationship of the Airport’s immediate neighborhoods and the city changed with the departure of the then-largest employer and the move away from a significant manufacturing base at the Airport.

 

Private general aviation activity began again at the Airport after the end of World War II.  In the 1960s, the first general aviation jets arrived at the Airport.  They were "pure jets," which were louder than present-day fan jets.  The noise impacts upon neighborhoods adjacent to the Airport were very significant and lacked any connection to the national defense and employment significance associated with the former operation of Douglas Aircraft.  The advent of these jet aircraft, the high volume of general aviation activity, and attendant increased impacts upon residents living in close proximity to the Airport brought controversy, resulting in litigation regarding the City's ability to limit Airport usage and a dispute between the City and the FAA. 

 

In the mid-1980s, the City and the federal government came to a settlement agreement with the adoption of the 1984 Agreement governing Airport operations.  The 1984 Agreement facilitated the City’s enactment of one of the strictest Airport Code and Noise Ordinances in the nation.  These operational restrictions limit, among other things, the maximum allowable noise level an aircraft can generate, the hours of operation of the Airport, and the types of aircraft operations.  The restrictions also prohibit helicopter flight training.  This Agreement expires in 2015.

 

The Airport Campus Today

Today the 227-acre Airport Campus is the largest facility owned and operated by the City.  The Airport Campus is comprised of Aviation Land and Non-Aviation Land.  Serving the primary function of the Airport with facilities dedicated to aviation-related uses is the northern and central area of the campus on 187 acres that is referred to as Aviation Land.  This area is restricted to aviation-related uses.  The area known as Non-aviation Land is south of Aviation Land and consists of 40 acres.  Use of this area was identified in the 1984 Agreement and the area hosts many community, business, and aviation industry-supporting uses.

 

Aviation Land is home to over 400 based aircraft and numerous aviation service providers that offer a wide range of services to the flying public.  The Airport also houses Angel Flight West, a non-profit volunteer organization that organizes free air transportation to deal with medical care needs for children and adults, and EVAC, an emergency disaster response program.  The Airport plays a critical role in the city’s and the region’s emergency preparedness, serving as a major emergency response site and facility in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes or other urgent situations. 

 

In addition to its core aviation services, on Non-Aviation Land the Airport serves the community with recreational opportunities at the 8.5-acre Airport Park that has play fields, picnic areas, and a dog park.  There is also the sustainably-landscaped Airport Avenue Demonstration Gardens located at 3200 Airport Avenue.  The Non-aviation area further provides a home for a thriving cultural and arts community that includes the highest concentration of artist studios in the city as well as galleries and live theater.  Furthermore, it is the site of the twice-monthly Antique Mart and the annual Art Walk.  Also located at the Airport is the Santa Monica College Arts Campus.

 

Within the Non-aviation Land there are major event sites including the Baker Hangar and the Santa Monica Arts Studios that offer programs such as the LA Art Show and PAL Halloween and events for non-profits like Heal the Bay and Children with AIDS.  It also contains creative and professional office space as well as the Westside Small Business Development Center and the DC-3 monument.  In addition, the Museum of Flying will be open to the public soon.

 

Community concerns with airport operations have continued with complaints frequently expressed about noise, safety, pollution, and pattern flying, particularly by Airport Campus neighbors both in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.  Noise concerns have primarily been directed at jet, helicopter, and piston aircraft operations  The community expressed concerns about pollution, raising concerns about jet aircraft emissions (particularly when holding on the runway), the smell of jet fuel, and the presence of lead in piston aircraft fuel.  Safety is also an expressed concern with regard to pattern flying and flight training.  Complaints regarding piston aircraft were heightened with the start of the FAA test of a proposed 250-degree turn for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) piston aircraft with safety concerns about possible aircraft either overrunning the runway or landing short, particularly since there are no runway safety areas.  The concern over safety elevated recently due to a non-fatal crash in August 2011.  The City takes the issue of safety very seriously and will remain vigilant in operating the Airport as safely as possible.  Any actions taken at the Airport Campus to address these concerns must be implemented within the context of a complex jurisdictional and legal environment.


The Legal Constraints Established by Federal Law

In identifying and considering the possibilities for the Airport Campus's future, it is absolutely essential to bear in mind federal legal constraints.  The City owns and operates the Airport.  But, federal law governs and strictly regulates the national air transportation and commerce systems; and, subject to limited exceptions, federal law preempts local regulation in this area.

 

Congress gave very broad responsibility and authority to the FAA in order to ensure that the nation has a safe and efficient air transportation system. This authority is multi-faceted. It includes the power to regulate and control navigable airspace, air traffic, and air navigation facilities. (49 U.S.C. § 40101 et seq).  Also included in the FAA's mandate is the power to regulate local noise controls. (49 U.S.C. § 47521-47533).  And, among other things, the FAA is charged with the responsibility for airport development. (49 USC § 47101).  Pursuant to the statutory authority granted by Congress, the FAA has adopted regulations that effectuate its powers.  These regulations, like their federal statute counterparts, cover a very wide variety of aviation-related fields.  Thus, for example, the FAA has adopted regulations governing aircraft certification and aircraft operations.  (See 14 C.F.R. Parts 25, 91, 121, 125 and 135).

 

As an adjunct to its responsibility for airport development, the FAA is authorized to award federal grants for airport construction and improvement.  (49 U.S.C. § 47101 et seq.)  Congress has mandated that all such grants must be conditioned upon written assurances that the grantee airport "will be available for public use on reasonable conditions and without unjust discrimination" (49 U.S.C. § 47107(a) (1)) and without providing any "exclusive right" to use of the airport. (49 U.S.C. § 47101(a)(1) and (4)).  Similar conditions apply to conveyances of land from the federal government for use as a public airport.  The FAA has adopted regulations related to these grants, and they include provisions establishing an administrative process for enforcing the grant conditions.  (See 14 C.F.R. Part 16).

 

Santa Monica's Airport has been the subject of many legal disputes between the City and Airport users, Airport neighbors, or Airport businesses.  However it is the legal disputes between the City and the FAA that have proven to be the most difficult.  The most recent example is the eight year legal battle over the City's Aircraft Conformance Program and the corresponding ordinance banning Category C&D aircraft.  This dispute cost the City well over $1,000,000 and the C & D ban was struck down.

 

Over the course of that dispute, the FAA explained its legal position relative to the City's obligations in its briefs filed with federal appellate courts.  Thus, on the issue of Airport closure, the FAA has made it very clear that it does and will take the position that the City cannot close the Airport in 2015 because the Instrument of Transfer, executed after the conclusion of World War II in 1948, obligates the City to operate its Airport in perpetuity.  Additionally, the FAA takes the position that the City accepted federal grant funds in 2003 and is thus required by federal law to operate the Airport for at least 20 years thereafter, or until 2023.

 

The City takes a different position on the closure issues, which is not surprising given the FAA's and the City's very different responsibilities.  However, the FAA's position on closure must be understood and appropriately acknowledged because it bears heavily upon the City's options.  The clearest and most extreme example is potential closure.  It is crystal clear that, if the City attempts to close the Airport, the FAA will not hesitate to aggressively fight against closure in the courts.  Such a fight would go on for years; and, at best for the City, the outcome would be highly uncertain.  What is certain is this:  the fight would be long and expensive and -- perhaps most important -- neither party would be able to control the result.

 

Likewise, in the process of conceiving possibilities for the Airport Campus's future other than attempted closure, it is crucial to understand and acknowledge the FAA's authority and the federal constraints at work here.  Thus, for instance, it is important to bear in mind that most of the Airport Campus land must be utilized for aviation purposes.  Some of the land has been released for non-aviation purposes, but that land is also subject to certain federal constraints.  For example, Airport Park is built on non-aviation Airport land; and federal restrictions (mostly ensuring safety) applied to what the City could build on the site.  Other non-aviation land at the Airport Campus is leased to Santa Monica College and to businesses.  Federal law requires that these leases be at or above market rate and that the proceeds be used solely for the Airport Campus.

 

Because understanding the federal legal constraints and the FAA's role are essential to any discussion of the Airport Campus's future, legal staff anticipates continuing to participate actively in the process of identifying and discussing the possibilities.

 

Discussion

The expiration of the 1984 Agreement and all of the land and building leases in 2015 presents a unique opportunity for the City to reengage with the FAA to discuss Airport Campus operations within the aforementioned parameters.  The operations and facilities of the Airport Campus are serious and important matters to the City and the community.  At the conclusion of the intensive phased outreach process, the City will be well informed by the findings and well positioned to discuss those findings with the FAA as the termination date of the 1984 Agreement and various leases approaches. 

 

Phase I of the three-phased process began in March 2011.  It engaged a broad group of community participants and industry experts informed by best practices, global trends, and state-of-the art thinking in compatible land use design and economic impact of the facility.  In Phase II, an extensive public process is proposed featuring an open house at the Airport Campus to kick off the effort followed by a large number of focus groups comprised of members of the public to be held throughout the city beginning this winter and through spring 2012.  With these essential inputs providing a full range of identified preferences given the constraints on Airport operations, the City can then undertake an analysis process grounded in a comprehensive understanding of what is possible and the associated costs and benefits as a part of Phase III for in-depth analysis.

 

The Phase II public process is intended to be a comprehensive process including preliminary analysis of relevant concepts and their local applicability that will elevate the discussion to a new level.  Informed by possibilities and constraints, people throughout the community with different interests and perspectives would be able to engage in an in-depth dialogue about their concerns, priorities, and preferences for the future of the Airport Campus.  The results of each focus group will be documented and presented to Council in May 2012.

 

Phase I Consultant Findings

The consultant teams have completed their Phase I efforts and their findings are summarized below.

 

Consultant Findings: Point C

Point C’s initial phase of work involved research and developing relationships with a broad spectrum of community groups and potential participants in a public process.  These conversations with the community were intended to be distinct from previous endeavors by involving discussions amongst an expanded group of interested parties in an attempt to build a foundation for an informed and inclusive dialogue.  Understanding the needs of current and potential users and communities was essential for framing the discussion. Point C’s activities included the following:

  • In collaboration with City staff, RAND, and HR&A, Point C identified a wide range of interested communities from the aviation, residential, business, education, and other areas within the city.
  • Based on research, Point C developed discussion questions intended to both inform and inspire discussion. The objective was to facilitate a dialogue that provided a platform for different groups to move from problem to possibilities, while at the same time allowing Point C to understand perspectives on the Airport impacts and benefits to the community, the quality of life, etc.
  • *Note: The purpose of these conversations was for research purposes only. Conversations were used to understand the issues and perspectives involved, for the purpose of designing a public process. The work is NOT a random, scientific survey and is NOT intended to represent citywide attitudes about the Airport Campus.
  • Point C engaged in almost 60 in-person interviews with people from various industries and parts of the community. Over 70 people were interviewed by phone or, if they preferred, through an online survey
  • The main takeaways from the in-person conversations and online survey results are: (1) people recognize that the FAA is one of, if not the biggest challenge in determining the future of the Airport; (2) the Airport is not perceived as being consistent with other aspects of life, policy and community in Santa Monica; (3) people are willing to discuss and identify alternative futures for the Airport; (4) there is a general lack of understanding of the constraints imposed on the City in the operation of the Airport; and (5) there is a critical need to build and maintain trust on this issue going forward.
  • Generally, the top concerns from the in-person conversations and online surveys were the following:
    1. People have expressed awareness of changes at the Airport Campus over the past several years, both as increased operations as well as new service & facilities. Specifically, people spoke of a perceived increase in jet operations and added noise, and noted that on-site, more recreational opportunities were available (i.e., park);
    2. There was a solid understanding and somewhat nostalgic view of the Airport’s historical context in the community (i.e., Douglas Aircraft, aviation history, etc.). People stressed the value of the Airport’s history and indicated that they would like to see more educational programs or resources relating to the history. The Museum of Flying was perceived as an important educational resource;
    3. People expressed significant concerns regarding the compatibility of the Santa Monica Airport and its current operations (i.e. air pollution, flight schools, curfew hours, etc.), safety parameters, and current uses and services; and
    4. People indicated concern regarding the aesthetics and function of the Airport and property. They perceived it as “run down” and indicated that they would like to see increased recreation and community uses (art and music events, educational resources, etc.), improved accessibility to the property, and improvements to the grounds and facilities.
  • Point C heard from these conversations that the Airport Campus can and should be a place of civic pride that includes a compatible, quieter and safer airport; a leader in green aviation technology; a place for education; a center to grow Santa Monica’s art community; and a civic gathering space.

 

Consultant Findings: HR&A

HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) prepared estimates of the general economic impact that the current operation of Santa Monica Airport, including that of the Airport Campus, has on the city’s economy, and its net fiscal impacts on the City budget.  HR&A has extensive experience preparing related analyses for a wide range of institutions, development projects, and planning initiatives throughout California and other parts of the U.S., including a number of related assignments for the City.

 

Economic Impact Analysis

The general economic impacts of the Airport Campus were estimated using an IMPLAN input-output model and economic data specific to the geography of the City.  IMPLAN is a widely accepted modeling system for measuring economic impacts including direct and “multiplier effect” impacts, which are typically expressed in terms of jobs and economic output.  The economic impact estimates are based on detailed analysis of on-site Airport Campus employment at all aviation and non-aviation tenants (for-profit and non-profit), governmental agency expenditures (i.e., Airport Administration and Santa Monica College), and estimated visitor spending by arriving air passengers who stay in city hotels.  The annual operation of the Airport Campus includes 177 different aviation and non-aviation businesses spread across 42 different industry sectors; $7.5 million in City and Santa Monica College annual expenditures; and $2.5 million in arriving air passenger annual expenditures in the city.

  • This scale of activity at the Airport supports 1,487 total full-time and part-time jobs in the city, of which 894 are located directly at Airport Campus.  This means the Airport Campus ranks among the city’s top 10 employers, equivalent in scale to the number of jobs at RAND Corporation.
  • The top three sectors in the city’s economy that are supported by Airport operations, as measured by total jobs, are: (1) air transportation; (2) food services and drinking places; and (3) legal services.
  • For every direct job at the Airport, 1.66 total jobs are created within the city’s economy.  This is a larger employment “multiplier effect” than found in typical forms of city development (e.g., office buildings, retail and hotels).
  • The annual operation of the Airport also results in a total annual economic output impact of $275.2 million in the city’s economy, including $187.5 million in annual tenant sales, governmental expenditures at and air passenger visitor spending in the city.
  • The top three sectors in the city’s economy that are supported by the Airport Campus operations, as measured by total annual economic output, are: (1) air transportation; (2) legal services; and (3) motion picture and video services.
  • On average, every job in the city’s economy that is supported by operation of the Airport generates $185,000 in annual economic output in the City economy.
  • Stated another way, the scale of direct economic activity at the Airport ($187.5 million) is equivalent to the direct economic output generated by 1,855 average-price hotel rooms, or 1.2 million square feet of general retail, or 350,000 square feet of commercial office space.
  • Beyond the city’s borders, the Airport Campus also supports a wide range of economic activity in the surrounding West Los Angeles sub region, including transportation of transplant materials for the UCLA Medical Center, operation of the largest citrus grower in the State of California, a range of activities related to the film, television and entertainment industries, and it provides a critical role in emergency preparedness.

 

Fiscal Impact Analysis

The fiscal impact analysis (i.e., total City revenues minus total City operating and capital costs) was based on budget data for the Airport Fund and original research on General Fund revenues generated by Airport Campus annual operations.  HR&A’s analysis concludes that the current operation of the Airport Campus had the following fiscal impacts in FY 2010-11:

·       The Airport Campus produced about $5.0 million in total revenues, including $4.0 million recorded in the Airport Fund and $1.0 million recorded in the General Fund.

·       Forty-six percent of the Airport Fund revenues were derived from land leases, with the remaining revenues derived from the combination of hangar rentals, building space rentals, landing fees, fuel sales, tie-down charges, and interest earnings.

·       Forty-six percent of the General Fund revenues were derived from the City’s share of property tax paid by tenants, with the remaining revenues derived from business license tax, utility user’s tax, parking tax, sales tax, and transient occupancy tax paid by arriving air passengers who stay overnight in City hotels.

·       These estimates do not include revenues derived from businesses and household expenditures elsewhere in the City that are indirectly supported by business and governmental operations at the Airport Campus.

 

For FY 2010-11, annual Airport Campus operating costs recorded in the Airport Fund and General Fund including salaries, supplies and other general expenses, capital costs, and the cost of services provided by other City departments were nearly equal to total revenues.

 

Consultant Findings: RAND

The RAND Corporation was charged with developing a set of conceptual proposals for activities that could take place at the Santa Monica Airport Campus over the coming years.  RAND conducted a scan of trends in aviation and airport practices to determine how other airports were developing in relation to their nearby communities.  RAND also assessed local economic, social, and cultural trends and planning documents specific to Santa Monica and its neighbors as background when developing its recommendations.

 

Objectives

The recommended concepts are not specific as to place, time or cost; instead, they are “concepts” intended to inform and stimulate the community process.  The individual concepts are consistent with the following overall goals:

  • They integrate the Airport with the dynamic changes and growth patterns already underway in the community;
  • They are intended to enhance the City’s strong position as an environmental trend setter and as a source of creativity;
  • They honor the rich history of aviation in Southern California and especially in Santa Monica; and
  • Activities at the Airport Campus are suggested which are compatible with on-airport and adjacent activities, including residential land uses nearby.

Elements of the Future Nature of the Airport Campus:

  1.  In order to complement existing airport activities, to modernize facilities, and to respect the surrounding communities, implementation should begin by making use to the extent possible of existing buildings and structures. 
  2. Increases in local, neighborhood-serving retailing activities and restaurants should be encouraged on the Airport.  These must be at modest scale to insure compatibility with the surrounding community. 
  3. Access to the Airport Campus should be dramatically improved.  This includes automobile access and suggests the importance of improved parking facilities at the Airport.  There is a special need to address substandard intersections at Airport Avenue and Bundy Drive and especially at Airport Avenue and Walgrove Avenue. Transit access should also be upgraded, In addition, bicycle and pedestrian access routes should be included to enhance access for the surrounding community and also within the site.
  4. The Museum of Flying can be expanded into a regional educational destination.   It should be a cultural center honoring Santa Monica’s leadership role in the history of aviation, including educational programs for children and adults, and commemorative events and gatherings of specialized aviation-related associations and interest groups.
  5. A “Sustainable Santa Monica” Center could be located at the Airport, providing a focal point for the high priority that this community has placed on sustainability.  The already considerable presence of the performing arts and visual arts can be expanded by increasing the number of facilities and tenants and broadening their activities. 
  6. The already successful outdoor recreational activities located at the Airport can be expanded in terms of their size and programmatic variety.
  7. The Airport Campus could become the site of an “economic incubator” at which small new startup companies could be located and supported by shared professional and support staff and facilities that would enable them to grow, improve, and market their goods and services.  An incubator could have a specific theme – e.g. computer electronics, graphics, and the entertainment industry or environmentally sustainable aviation products and services. 
  8. The Airport could host a regional Emergency Communications and Control Center that would supplement and coordinate with the actions of fire and police departments, FEMA, the American Red Cross, the National Guard, and others. Supplies can be stockpiled at the Airport for use when needed.  Establishment of communications systems and facilities necessary to a Command and Control Center which could also provide excellent training and readiness resources to many agencies, educational facilities for the public, and to colleges offering degrees and specialized skills training.  Such a center would significantly expand the capabilities of existing emergency operations centers at the Santa Monica Public Safety Facility and at the American Red Cross regional center in West Los Angeles.

 

In all cases, these concepts are preliminary, but they have been discussed with local and regional authorities, educational institutions, governmental departments, private sector organizations, and those who would play roles in implementing future activities of these sorts at the Airport Campus.

 

Proposed Phase II Public Process

The Phase II public process would provide an opportunity for all members of the public with an interest in the future of the Santa Monica Airport Campus to fully engage in an in-depth interactive discussion about its impacts, physical and policy relationship to the city and surrounding communities, and possible future opportunities through focus group meetings that would be held throughout the city. The focus groups would be comprised of approximately 8 to 12 participants each and are intended to be exhaustive in their breadth and frequency.  Through these focus groups, staff anticipates a wide range of participants with a variety of viewpoints will be reached between January and March of 2012. 

 

Any interested individual can participate in one focus group, which would be facilitated by a professional organizer of public meetings and community processes.  The approach would emphasize inclusiveness and a high level of community interaction.  Prior to the commencement of the focus group sessions, an open house would be conducted on the Airport Campus in December 2011.  This would provide all interested members of the public an opportunity to tour the site, its facilities, and operations.  This is similar to the Airport Park public process that featured self-guided tours and observation stations. 

 

The focus groups allow direct dialogue between interested participants.  The process would be augmented by a web site that provides a summary of each session as well as general resource information about the Airport Campus. This would facilitate transparency and allow any interested party to follow the process.  The comments and suggestions of each of the focus groups would be recorded and a summary of the results of each group would be presented to Council in May 2012 along with the proposed Phase III analysis process.

 

Next Steps

If Council directs staff to proceed with the proposed Phase II Public Process concept, staff will work to further define the Phase II tasks and budget as well as identify consultants and/or facilitators who could support the process.  Professional strategic consultants, working in concert with City staff, would develop materials for and facilitate the focus group meetings, conduct an open house, establish the Phase II website, and provide broad public notice of the Phase II process and focus groups.  The Phase II input will be reported back to Council and the community in May 2012.

 

Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

If Council directs staff to move forward with the proposed Phase II Public Process concept, staff will return to Council this fall with a recommendation to enter into an agreement with a consultant for Phase II tasks.

 

Prepared by:          Susan Cline, Assistant Director of Public Works

          Rod Merl, Airport Administrator

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rod Gould

City Manager

 

Rod Gould

City Manager

 

 

Attachments:

A – Map of Airport Campus