Ann Arbor Airport Study OK’d by Council

Ann Arbor’s municipal airport was back on the city council’s Aug. 20, 2012 agenda, possibly the last time for a long while to come. That was expected, based on action taken earlier this year in April. The first of two agenda items on Aug. 20 was the fifth of five different grant contracts for the completion of an environmental assessment (EA) related to a possible 800-foot extension of the runway. The $42,500 in the grant consists of $40,375 in federal funds, $1,062 in state funds and a local match of $1,063.

That item was approved by the council with dissent from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1).

A second airport-related item on the council’s agenda involved the use of those funds in the grant item for study of the need to relocate federally owned navigational aids (ODAL lighting system) for the EA.

On April 16, 2012 the council had considered several resolutions in connection with Ann Arbor’s municipal airport, including the fourth grant contract.

The city council had initially authorized funding for the first of the grant contracts related to the environmental assessment project at its Feb. 2, 2009 meeting. The assessment began on May 4, 2009. The process appeared to culminate in a public hearing in April 2010. [See Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Airport Study Gets Public Hearing."] In the interim, city councilmembers have removed the runway extension from the city’s capital improvements plan (CIP) each year they’ve been asked to give the CIP its annual approval.

However, when the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the draft report, that prompted communication between the city of Ann Arbor and the FAA in late 2011. And that back-and-forth has resulted in FAA requests for more work, which is meant to wrap up the environmental assessment.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]