This project was controversial within the city and required an innovative approach to developing alternatives compatible with several key issues of importance to the community. The study was funded by the City of Venice because the FAA provided funds for a Master Plan/ALP which was completed one year earlier by another firm. The city however would not accept the completed Master Plan, citing that it did not address the community’s concerns. As a result, the FAA has held funding of any improvement projects at the airport until an acceptable ALP is submitted and approved by the FAA.
A unique aspect of the project included a six month aircraft counting program to accurately identify the critical aircraft operating at the airport as well as provide an accurate count. The counting system utilized six wireless cameras positioned on the airfield that captured a photo of the aircraft and provided data to a server including the time of the operation, aircraft type and owner information. Two additional cameras were specifically installed to capture touch and go activity. At the conclusion of the six month period the city decided to purchase the equipment and keep it permanently installed to continue the counting program on a daily basis. This has resulted in a very significant database of activity and aircraft information.
Extensive coordination with the FAA has been required to accomplish the city’s goals and objectives. Included within their goals is relocation of an Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) that includes 24 homes off the Runway 13 end, and full Runway Safety Area (RSA) improvements to a runway constrained by a golf course. The controversy of the project resulted in FAA’s Washington DC office involvement at meetings held with the Orlando Airport District Office (ADO).
The study has required a thoughtful approach to the public involvement process. Several public workshops were conducted at key points in the process to inform, educate, build trust and confidence and receive public comment on the information and data generated during the study. The process was very controlled, yet provided all citizens the opportunity to participate and be a part of the study from start to finish.