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Airport Authority ‘scrambling’ to finish environmental study

Presentation to be made today to Board of Supervisors 

The government district that manages Crescent City’s airport has been scrambling over the past few months to finish the environmental analysis necessary to apply for federal funding for legally required additions to the airport’s runways.

The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority is scheduled to give a presentation to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors today at 10:30 a.m. in the Flynn Center during the supervisors’ regular meeting.

 

With the Jack McNamara Field situated in the coastal zone, the runway improvements are subject to approval from the California Coastal Commission, which required the Airport Authority to identify lands that could be converted to wetlands to mitigate for 17 acres of wetland loss associated with the project.

The Airport Authority has attempted to find voluntary, willing sellers in Pacific Shores subdivision in Fort Dick for the mitigation, but the process has been fraught with hurdles. 

“(G)iven the unusually large acreage of habitat impact associated with the project, development of a suitable mitigation proposal has been an enormous challenge for the BCRAA,” stated a letter from Coastal Commission staff to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is waiting for Coastal Commission approval before they will fund the project.

The mitigation proposals have also been hindered by a lawsuit filed against the airport authority and the federal government by Pacific Shores property owners.  

Airport Authority officials have repeatedly stated that the FAA wants Crescent City’s airport to be funded in this year’s grant cycle since next year there will be more airports in the district competing for grants for their Runway Safety Area projects.  The deadline for that cycle is the end of August.

Although the Airport Authority and Coastal Commission staff “worked tirelessly in the development of and review of mitigation proposals, the complex BCRAA mitigation proposal was not sufficiently completed in time for the project to be placed on the Commission’s August” meeting agenda, according to the Coastal Commission’s letter to the FAA.

Airport Authority officials are expected to update the Board of Supervisors today on the current status of the project.

 


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