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photoTuolumne County, owner and operator of Columbia Airport, has initiated the preparation of a Master Plan for the airport in order to assess its existing and future role while also providing direction and guidance for future development.

The Master Plan is intended to be a proactive document which identifies and then plans for future facility needs well in advance of the actual need for the facilities.  This is done to ensure that Columbia Airport can coordinate project approvals, design, financing, and construction to avoid experiencing detrimental effects due to inadequate facilities.

The County retained the services of Coffman Associates, Inc., an airport consulting firm that specializes in planning, environmental, and land use studies, to conduct the Master Plan.  Coffman Associates has completed planning studies for the Tuolumne County Airport Department in the past.

The Columbia Airport Master Plan will be prepared in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and industry-accepted practices, including Advisory Circular 150/5070-6B, Airport Master Plans and Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design.  The study process is anticipated to take approximately 18 months to complete which includes time for agency reviews and approvals of the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) drawings.

Columbia Airport serves as a vital economic asset for Tuolumne County and the surrounding region.  As such, it should be carefully and thoughtfully planned and subsequently developed in a manner which matches the development goals of the area.  With a sound and realistic Master Plan, Columbia Airport can maintain its important link to the national air transportation system and maintain the existing public and private investments in its facilities.

Adoption of the proposed Airport Master Plan is a “project” subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Public Resources Code [PRC], §§21000 et seq.) and CEQA Guidelines (California Code of Regulations [Cal. Code Regs.], Title 14, Division 6, Chapter 3).  The Final Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study has been prepared on the proposed Airport Master Plan.  The County of Tuolumne is the “lead agency” for this project (CEQA Guidelines, §15367).  Written comments on the Mitigated Negative Declaration/Initial Study will be accepted from June 11, 2018 to July 25, 2018.  See the Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for specific information and directions on submitting comments.

Since an Airport Master Plan does not authorize, fund, or carry out any project or activity (including ground-disturbing actions), its adoption would not cause direct impacts to the environment.  There may be implications, such as indirect or cumulative environmental consequences, however, from managing the Airport under this programmatic framework, as addressed in the Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting Program contained in the Initial Study.  Future development at the Airport under the proposed Airport Master Plan would be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (Title 42 United States Code [USC] §§4321 et seq.), CEQA, various federal and state special purpose laws, and FAA oversight and approval, as applicable.”

 

Website updated as of June 11, 2018.