A controversial proposed contract with a private operator for fueling facilities and construction of new hangars at Livermore Municipal Airport was unanimously approved at Monday night's City Council meeting.
The approval will allow for 65 new hangars to be built at the airport, along with privatizing fuel sales.
Livermore and Pleasanton residents who live near the airport have rallied for years against the proposed changes.
Purnam Sheth, a member of the Livermore Airport Citizens Group opposing the proposed changes, was one of dozens of speakers Monday night. He said the city has mischaracterized what it hopes to do with the airport, and that its actions would bring more and louder planes -- including jets -- to the area.
"Please don't be misled that this is just an improvement, not an expansion," Sheth told the City Council. "This is an expansion."
City officials contend the airport improvement plans will not appreciably increase the number of flights in and out. They say the airport has a waiting list of 200 planes looking for hangars, and about 100 of those planes are already stored outdoors at the facility.
John Piggott was one of many to speak in favor of the proposed airport project. He said many opponents were misleading the public about the nature of the project.
"The improvement and modernization of this airport is being mischaracterized," Piggott told the council. "Please base your decision on facts."
Councilwoman Lorraine Dietrich brought a copy of an airport-opponent flier. She then asked Dan McIntyre, director of public works for Livermore, go through and contest each claim point by point.
After McIntyre disputed the points, Dietrich said only two statements on the flier were correct -- one of them being the date and time of the meeting.
McIntyre added that in the past seven years, aircraft operation at the Livermore airport has decreased 35 percent. McIntyre said current activity numbers at the airport are similar to those in the mid-1980s, which was the last time the city added a substantial number of hangars -- with about 180,000 aircraft operations annually. The airport houses nearly 500 planes, McIntyre said.
In January, the city officially began requesting proposals from prospective operators of the new hangars and fueling facilities at the airport. Proposals were due in March.
Many airport plan opponents said the new hangars and operator would lead to more and bigger jets, as well as the noise and pollution they bring.
The council also approved a one-week airport noise study in conjunction with Pleasanton as well as amending certain airport rules and regulations.
Reach Chris Metinko at 510-763-5418 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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