BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
The Federal Aviation Administration has made a draft environmental assessment that may result in impactful changes in noise levels, and also arrival and departure procedures, at multiple airports throughout the Denver metropolitan area.
Communities that may be impacted include Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Lone Tree, Greenwood Village, Parker, Aurora, unincorporated Arapahoe County and Douglas County. It appears there is likely to be an impact on the general area, particularly related to the noise generated by the airports.
Some members of the City of Centennial staff and City Council believe that the effect on Greenwood Village and Cherry Hills Village may be more impactful than on other areas, including Centennial.
The FAA has been conducting what it calls “workshops,” but are actually open houses, at which it solicits opinions from the public and local governments, in order to inform them about the Denver Metroplex Draft Environmental Assessment.
The FAA project is, in the words of a staff report prepared by Andrew Firestine, an assistant city manager for Centennial, “a redesign of the airspace throughout the Denver Area.” According to the report by Firestine, directed to the Centennial City Council, it is a “redesign” that “affects the arrival and departure procedures for multiple airports throughout the area, including Centennial Airport.”
The Centennial council had an extensive discussion about the FAA’s assessment at a recent meeting. The discussion was led by Firestine. It appeared that most on the council were of the opinion that the FAA will do whatever it wants, regardless of the public comment that it receives.
The public comment period is required of any federal agency requesting change to policy and/or procedures.
Centennial Councilwoman Candace Moon, who attended the council meeting last week, and also attended at least one of the FAA “workshops,” spoke with this reporter about the FAA assessment.
A veteran of the United States Air Force and someone well versed in issues related to flight, Moon noted that the proposed changes are “very DIA centric,” referring to the Denver International Airport.
Moon also said that it appears to her that “the FAA pretty much has its mind made up” and that it is likely to do whatever it wants. Moon is the representative from the Centennial City Council to the Centennial Airport Noise Roundtable, an entity that meets approximately monthly, and deals with issues raised by the noise generated by Centennial Airport. She is very familiar with the issues raised by the FAA’s assessment.
The FAA’s assessment relates to DIA, Centennial Airport and three others, which are Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Northern Colorado Regional Airport, and the Greeley-Weld County Airport.
Moon, who is married to Vorry Moon, a former Centennial councilman who served two and one-half terms on the council and is also an Air Force veteran as well as a pilot, said that the new rules the FAA is considering will only apply to “instrument flying rules.”
The effect of what the FAA is proposing will be that airplanes departing from DIA will “have to get to 10,000 feet above ground level from departure very quickly,” she said.
This proposed change in the environmental assessment may present challenges to Centennial Airport, as well as to all the communities impacted in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
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