Watsonville Airport Advisory Committee Meeting Summary - 05/05/2021

Orry Korb, our WAAC representative, was generous enough to write up a summary of the meeting held on May 5, 2021. Official Minutes will always be posted on the City's website when they become available:

https://www.cityofwatsonville.org/1883/Watsonville-Airport-Advisory-Committee


The WPA encourages all our members to attend these quarterly meetings. We will have the meetings dates on our events calendar as we hear about them.

From: Orry Korb

Date: 6/1/21

Re: WAAC Meeting 5/5/21


I attended this virtual meeting as WPA’s newly appointed regular representative. The primary matter on the agenda concerned proposed updates to the Airport Regulations due to take effect on July 1, 2021. Before the meeting Rayvon Williams informed me that the regulations update would be postponed, though the proposed changes remained on the agenda.


The meeting proceeded as follows:


Election of Officers:

Rayvon asked the WAAC to consider appointment of a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson. Pursuant to the by-laws, the primary duty of the former is to lead meetings of the WAAC; the primary duty of the latter is to substitute for the Chairperson when necessary. After nominations were made, Marjorie Bachman was elected Chairperson by a near unanimous vote (Marjorie did not vote for herself). Congratulations Marjorie! I was elected Vice Chairperson.


Oral Communications:

Approximately 15 persons monitored the meeting and reserved comments to the discussion of the proposed update of the Airport Regulations addressed below under “Compliance Documents.” Written comments received before the meeting also concerned the proposed update and will be attached to the minutes, when available.


Director’s Report:

Runway 27.

Rayvon described the ongoing Airport Master Plan update process, which involves a subcommittee of the WAAC made up of Marjorie Bachman, Scott Randolph and Joe Shelton. Airport management anticipates city council review of the Plan in the spring of 2022. The Plan must address the future of Runway 27, now closed for takeoffs. Rayvon assured everyone that the Plan would not include permanent changes to the existing runway infrastructure, but a permanent solution satisfactory to the FAA would be considered in the future through a public process.


Several weeks before the 5/5 meeting, I participated in a telephone discussion of this issue along with Rayvon, Ryan Ramirez and Scott Randolph. The discussion concluded with consensus that nonpermanent (painted) threshold relocation could allow Runway 27 to reopen for takeoffs because the FAA would not insist on any permanent changes until the airport undertakes another runway improvement project around 2029. The WPA Board must consider whether and how to accept this temporary threshold relocation.


New Airport Operations Manager.

Sam Rosas has been appointed.


2021-2023 Budget.

Excess revenues are projected to be approximately $750,000 as of 6/1/21.

Hangar Inspections.

Based on the January inspections, letters will be sent to tenants of hangars with problems, such as delinquent rental payments, failure to provide lock combination or key access, unused aircraft, housekeeping issues of concern to the Fire Marshal, and increases to rates and fees, including hangar rental rates.


Proposed Land Swap.

Marjorie convinced Rayvon that the City cannot take any such action unless and until the state airport lands guidelines are incorporated into the Watsonville General

Plan, which the City optimistically anticipates accomplishing by the end of 2021. Until then, the proposed swap remains in the offing.


Proposed Self-Storage Facility on Airport Blvd.

This was discussed briefly at the January meeting of the WAAC. No formal land use application has be received by the City.


Airport Open House.

Planned to occur on September 4, 2021.


United Flight Litigation.

The trial was held in April and the judge’s ruling is expected on June 1, 2021. The proposed update to the Airport Rules and Regulations has been delayed until after the ruling and after a more complete public process.


Compliance Documents:

Again, Rayvon reported that the process for updating the Airport Rules and Regulations (one of the Compliance Documents) is delayed until after the court issues its ruling in the United Flight litigation. The relationship between the proposed update and the litigation was not explained, though the update addressing vehicular traffic in the transient parking area is relevant.


There were numerous comments submitted on aspects of the proposed update, both oral and written. They will be included in the minutes. Comments touched on the following:

  1. Whether Airport management should have citation authority (Note: Several persons noted that to date the airport has not been heavy handed in exercising its existing citation authority).

  2. Removal of proposed update from the Airport website pending the review process to avoid confusion. (Note: The proposed update has been taken down)

  3. Various issues regarding vehicular traffic in the transient parking area, including necessity, boundaries, access to parked aircraft for repair or towing, etc.

  4. The regulatory basis for restrictions on landing on grass adjacent to Runway 27

  5. Fueling, transporting fuel, and fuel storage

  6. The process for approving rule changes

  7. Vague rules that expose persons to citations

  8. Hangar inspections and the records of hangar contents.


Unleaded UL95 Fuel:

Rayvon discussed the complexity of bringing this type of fuel to the airport, which will result in a price of between $4 and $5 per gallon. Rayvon referred to a follow-up survey to tenants about the use and cost of this type of fuel. According to comments, state regulations complicate if not prohibit bringing a truck of UL95 to the field for a tryout.


WAAC Bylaws:

A detailed discussion of the Bylaws settled most language and typo issues. A substantial discussion occurred about the WAAC serving as an appeal body for decisions of the Airport Manager. Understanding that WAAC is only an advisory committee, the language will make clear that the WAAC will make appropriate recommendations on such appeals. The amended Bylaws will be brought back at the July meeting for final approval.


Nesting Birds:

I noted the problem of birds nesting in hangar doors. Rayvon asked tenants with similar problems to report them to the Airport via the Airport website which will generate a work order.


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