Rocky Mountain Metro neighbors fear strategic plan

Airport wants to develop across 200-acres

Liam Adams
ladams@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/2/21

Air traffic to and from the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport already upsets residents in Westminster and other nearby areas. Proposed future development at the site would only make it worse, many …

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Rocky Mountain Metro neighbors fear strategic plan

Airport wants to develop across 200-acres

Posted

Air traffic to and from the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport already upsets residents in Westminster and other nearby areas. Proposed future development at the site would only make it worse, many neighbors believe.

At a June 21 meeting, people from Westminster, Broomfield, Superior, Louisville and unincorporated Boulder and Jefferson counties shared their opinions on a new airport strategic business plan. The plan directs and guides the construction of facilities across 200 acres within the next 20 years that can be used to solicit new investment opportunities.

The airport, which has a Broomfield address and is owned and operated by Jefferson County, identified eight separate parcels for new development, most of which are along the southwest quadrant near the Westminster border.

Potential future uses for the largest tracts include corporate, commercial, manufacturing, and general aviation, according to a presentation from Nick Johnson of Johnson Aviation, a consulting firm hired to develop the strategic business plan.

Existing operations are already problematic for neighbors, though. “I don’t think you need to expand it and here’s why. It’s already annoying as possible to sit outside for a conversation for breakfast lunch or dinner. I can hear the planes roaring around at 10:00 at night. I can hear them when I first get up in the morning,” said Chad Underwood, a Westminster resident, at the June 21 meeting.

Underwood said the noise problem has worsened over the last three years since he moved to the area. “It’s completely unbelievably hard to have friends over, family over and be able to have a conversation in the back yard,” Underwood said.

Noise was the most common complaint that neighbors discussed at the June 21 meeting. People also raised concerns about environmental pollution from aircraft fuel.

Noise has been a longstanding issue with the airport, which has set up a noise complaint form and an FAQ page about noise on its website. There is also a community noise roundtable, which will review the strategic business plan at a July 12 meeting.

Other public commenters commended the airport for its noise mitigation efforts and said there should be a balance between airport operations and accommodating neighbors’ requests.

“Many of my neighbors view the strategic business plan to emotionally vent their frustrations with noise. And I completely understand this as I experienced the same frustration at times,” said Superior resident Brad Walker. “But the solution to economically strangle the airport by restricting development is not reasonable.”

Walker is also a pilot who uses the airport for personal and business reasons. He said the flight school at RMMA from which he rents planes is limiting the number of students it enrolls because it can’t keep up with the demand.

Walker said, “The vast majority of people that you are going to hear from today simply want restrictions on operations and that is unlawful as well as against regulations.”

Johnson said in his presentation that the future development will create more jobs, generate additional local tax revenue, and will meet Federal Aviation Administration objectives.

After the community noise roundtable meeting, airport staff will review a draft version of the plan in August.

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