This summer, City Council approved an update to the Georgetown Municipal Airport Master Plan, a guide for future development at our local airport. It was a comprehensive, 18-month review and rewrite of the visioning plan for the Airport, last updated in 2005. Coffman Associates, a planning firm specializing in airport master plan consulting, worked with the City and a seven-member planning advisory committee in completing the master plan update.
We are very fortunate to be the home of the Georgetown Municipal Airport. The Airport is a key driver of our local economy, employing 139 people and supporting more than 500 jobs tied to it. According to a recent economic impact study by the Texas Department of Transportation, the direct impact to the local economy from our Airport is $20 million per year. Indirectly, the Airport’s impact is more than $50 million.
The airport also serves as a reliever to Austin-Bergstrom Airport, and is instrumental in providing aircraft avionic and maintenance support for aircraft owners in the region. Airport businesses offer a range of services; flight training, recreational flying, medical transport and evacuation, and power line and pipeline patrols.
The purpose of the update is to provide a vision for future development at the Airport. The update also addresses changes in the aviation industry on a local and a national level and identifies appropriate on-airport land uses that are consistent with the City’s Future Land Use Plan. The update also created an Airport Layout Plan, which is a requirement for grant funding from the Texas Department of Transportation, and developed a 20-year prioritized list of capital projects at the Airport.
In understanding the scope of the update of the Airport Master Plan, it is helpful to know what it does not include. The master plan is not an airport relocation study or a noise compatibility study. It is not a study to add aircraft capacity at the Airport nor does it change a previous City Council resolution from 1996 on airport runway length. It is not a specific development site plan nor does it recommend any zoning changes at the Airport. The update recommends only concepts. The Master Plan does not entail pre-approval for funding of projects. Additional City Council approval is required for all future funding requests. And finally, the update does not require an Environmental Impact Statement.
In addition to the citizen planning advisory committee who provided feedback, the Master Plan update process included three public meetings where members of the public could review draft elements of the plan, ask questions, and provide written feedback. Public review and feedback also were offered through the Master Plan update website.
The Master Plan includes an inventory of existing facilities and traffic activity; forecasts for future based-aircraft, take-offs, and landings; facility requirements; and contextual information such as area socioeconomic data, and local planning and land use information.
The Airport Master Plan update includes several key findings and recommendations. An updated Airport Layout Plan in the report proposes areas on the northwest and northeast quadrants of the Airport for future aviation-related development. Other recommendations include extending ground leases to 50 years, adding restaurant or concession options at the Airport, and considering a new name for the Airport. And finally, the update recommends that the Airport remains a general aviation reliever airport focusing on leisure and business aviation, not commercial passenger jet service.
To review the Airport Master Plan Update report, go to airport.georgetown.org/airport-master-plan.