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PROJECT BACKGROUND

 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a series of aircraft accidents indicated the need for airports nationwide to enhance the safety of their runways.  To deter further loss of life, Congress passed H.R. 3058 which states that airports must improve all runway safety areas (RSAs), to the extent practicable, by December 31, 2015.

In November 2006, the Monterey Peninsula Airport District (the District) contracted with Kimley-Horn and Associates to assess the RSAs.  This assessment found that the Airport’s longest runway, Runway 10R-28L, does not meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) RSA standards for the types of aircraft utilizing the runway.  Based on this finding, Kimley-Horn identified and assessed potential alternatives to meet the FAA’s RSA standards.

In October 2008, Coffman Associates was retained to evaluate the proposed RSA project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).   The NEPA process was completed in August 2010 when the FAA, the lead federal agency for the NEPA process, issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

The District completed the CEQA process and a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the RSA project was certified by the District in May 2011. On June 3, 2011, the Highway 68 Coalition filed a lawsuit in the Monterey County Superior Court that challenged the adequacy of the 2011 EIR.   Monterey County Superior Court subsequently ruled that portions of the EIR were inadequate.

In October 2012, the District issued the Revised Draft EIR that addressed those areas identified by the Court as needing further study.  Specifically, the Revised EIR supplemented the description and discussion of the east vehicle service road’s purpose, function and design, including its relation to various FAA Orders and Advisory Circulars; explained that the 1992 Airport Master Plan no longer governs development of the Airport, which instead is subject to the FAA-approved, 2012 Airport Layout Plan; and, comprehensively studied greenhouse gas emissions attributable to carbon dioxide sequestration.

On December 19, 2012, the District Board of Directors certified the final Project EIR.  The certified Project EIR (SCH #2009071104) for the Runway Safety Improvements Project (RSA Project) consists of the Draft EIR (October 2010), Recirculated Draft EIR (March 2011), Final EIR (May 2011), Revised Draft EIR (October 2012), and the Revised Final EIR (December 2012). The Board concurrently approved the RSA Project (Resolution No. 1590).  Subsequent to the District’s December 19, 2012 action, legal counsel for the District requested that the Court review the Revised EIR information and find that the District had complied with the Court’s order.  On July 3, 2013, the Court filed an unfavorable Intended Decision on the District’s request.

The District then commenced settlement negotiations with the Highway 68 Coalition in order to facilitate a more efficient and effective resolution of the environmental issues and allow the District to meet the FAA’s RSA standards by December 31, 2015.  After a series of discussions, the District and the Coalition identified a set of mutually acceptable terms that were agreed to in a Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of Claims, executed in August 2013.  In October 2013, the Court filed a Stipulated Amendment Judgment, which incorporated the Settlement Agreement (referred to as “Settlement Agreement” throughout this website) for purposes of resolving the legal controversy.

In compliance with CEQA and State CEQA Guidelines, District staff, with the assistance of Coffman Associates and Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., evaluated the environmental ramifications of the proposed modifications to the approved RSA Project identified in the Settlement Agreement.  Based on the results of that evaluation, an Addendum (November 2013) to the previously certified Project EIR has been prepared in accordance with State CEQA Guidelines Section 15164.

On November 6, 2013 the Addendum to the previously certified Project EIR became available to the public (see the link on this website on the Environmental Impact Report tab).  On November 13, 2013, as part of their regularly scheduled District Board of Directors’ public meeting, the agenda will include an item for Board consideration and action regarding the Addendum to the previously certified Project EIR.

The purpose of this website is to allow interested parties to obtain information on the completed NEPA and ongoing CEQA processes.  Information included on the website includes the following:

•  An explanation of what is a Runway Safety Area;
•  Materials from public information workshops; and
•  Environmental documents available for public review.

The project team thanks you for your interest in the project.