Having an airport in your backyard can be somewhat noisy. But it can also mean more convenient flights and economic benefits to your community.
How does an airport grow its operations, while balancing the impact on those who live and work around it? Conversely, how does it protect itself from inevitable new development encroachment?
These are the concerns that Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport sought to address when it began updating its land-use plan. The current one was compiled in 2000.
Between 2000 and 2010, the airport planning area’s residential population burgeoned from 100,000 to 250,000, a jump of 150 percent. From 2010 to 2017, that population is estimated to have grown to 300,000.
“The goal is: How do we provide guidance to ensure not only orderly growth but compatible new development while we preserve the capacity and the potential of Gateway airport,” said Tony Bianchi, airport planner.
The plan took nearly two years to update and included conversations with stakeholders in Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek and unincorporated areas in Maricopa and Pinal counties.
The plan was capacity-based, Bianchi said, wherein the airport analyzed a reasonable capacity of the airport for the amount of operations (takeoffs and landings) it can handle.
The annual capacity was analyzed at a half-million. Current annual operations are at about a quarter-million.
“With the infrastructure that we already have in place now, we can accommodate almost twice as many operations,” Bianchi noted.
One of the key findings important to the airport’s…
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