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Airport plan details runway, road changes

The home of Jim and Lisa Moore sits within feet of where a proposed realignment of Austin Boulevard would start in order to make way for a longer runway at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.

The two don’t like what the future holds for their Rockcastle Court property if the multi-million plan by airport officials becomes a reality.

“I’d rather they buy my house right now,” Jim Moore said.

His wife concurred, “I would too.”

The Moores were among more than 200 who attended a series of community forums Tuesday on an updated layout plan for the airport. The 527-acre airport sits at the corner of Ohio 741 and Austin, just southeast of Austin Landing and less than a mile from a burgeoning Interstate 75 interchange.

The widening of this portion of Austin was completed in 2011 and its realignment was proposed along with that work. However, it was not included in that $5.1 million project because of lack of funds, county officials have said.

This realignment of the road is being proposed by officials at Dayton International Airport, which own Dayton-Wright Brothers, to extend the runway from 5,000 to 5,500 feet to improve safety and keep the general aviation airport viable.

Because it is part of an airport improvement project, it may be able to be funded largely through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, airport officials said.

“This is an economic driver for this part” of the Dayton area, said Regina Holman, Dayton airport business development manager. “So we want to make sure the airport is safe.”

The two proposals are estimated to cost a combined $10 million to $12 million, said Andrew Holesko, vice president/program manager for Passero Associates, an engineering consulting firm working on the project.

They are part of the airport’s 20-year master plan, which was last updated in 2008. This plan also calls for realigning taxiways, and addressing hangar space and other land use issues, including attracting more commercial development to the airport, officials have said.

About 200 aircraft a day fly in and out of DWBA, said Zach Nelson, senior aviation planner for Passero. A majority of those 20 models require a runway more than 5,500 feet long when fully loaded on a hot summer afternoon, what Passero officials described as “the most demanding conditions.”

Without a runway extension, Holesko said, aircraft operators run the risk of not fueling to capacity and leaving behind passengers scheduled for flights.

The proposed extension is not intended to allow commercial aircraft or attract planes larger than those currently using the airport, he said.

“Nothing on this list changes the essence or size of aircraft operating at the airport,” Holesko said. “We’re not proposing any improvements that changes the essence or character of the planes that fly in here today.”

That’s reassuring to Gary Woodley, who lives in Yankee Trace in Washington Twp.

“This is a great asset to the south of town and I don’t want to see it taken away,” Woodley said of the airport. “I just don’t want to see the size of the aircraft increase. ”

The proposed realignment of Austin Boulevard would begin just west of Rockcastle Court and loop about 1,000 feet to the north, Holesko said. It would end just east of the Ohio 741 intersection, Nelson said.

Under this plan, the airport would have to acquire 40 to 50 acres of Miami Twp. property to the north of Austin’s current location for a federally-mandated runway protection zone, Holesko said. This would provide a buffer of about 600 feet for the closest residential property, he said.

At this point, there is no plan to acquire any residential property, according to Holesko.

The Austin realignment is contingent upon several factors, including public reaction, Terry Slaybaugh, director of Aviation for the Dayton airport, has said. And Nelson said Tuesday the plan is subject to change.

As the issue moves forward, airport officials will continue to field public input before submitting the plan to the FAA, Holman said.

Meanwhile, Holesko said, an environmental study is required, but will likely not be done until 2017.

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