August 2, 2016

San Luis Obispo Airport Land Use Compatibility Report


Project Profile

Project Name: San Luis Obispo Airport Land Use Compatibility Report

Client: City of San Luis Obispo

Purpose:  The City of San Luis Obispo selected Johnson Aviation to provide airport land use planning guidance to the City in connection with the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport.  Johnson Aviation worked with the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department to accurately map airport safety zones, produce noise contours with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) latest version of the Integrated Noise Model (INM) and prepare an Airport Land Use Compatibility Report that would become the basis of a chapter in the City’s General Plan, Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) Update.  While the airport does have an Airport Land Use Plan (ALUP), its land use criteria are based on outdated data, and the City has been trying to reconcile differences with the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) to better serve the interests of the airport, City, and County.

Tasks:  Johnson Aviation coordinated with City staff and ALUC staff to accurately map and update the San Luis Obispo ALUP noise and safety areas using the City’s existing GIS.  The GIS maps were produced to determine impacts and land use compatibility based on the 2011 California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook, the California Public Utilities Code, and FAA airport planning advisory circulars.  This accurate mapping has become a fact-based planning approach to resolving long-standing airport land use differences between the City and the ALUC.  Progress of airport development was assessed and operations forecasts were updated to reflect changes since the adoption of the 2005 Airport Master Plan Update.  The revised operations forecast reflected the FAAs Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) and recent aviation trends.  The  2005 Master Plan Update forecast was used to prepare Community Noise Exposure Level (CNEL) contours for the 60db CNEL, 65db CNEL, and 70db CNEL using the FAA’s INM Version 7.0.  Even though this forecast was significantly higher than the TAF, it was determined to be a theoretical, maximum operations threshold for the Airport. Airport development, existing operations, forecasts, and noise are critical elements for defining and assessing future land use compatibility.

Outcome:  Johnson Aviation is currently working with the City on the General Plan Update Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and is developing an Airport Overlay Zone as part of the policies and programs that emerged from the City’s General Plan Task Force.  Johnson Aviation also continues to work closely with the City council and City staff to find common ground with the ALUC on the airport land uses within the City and on specific legal issues related to the airport land use process.