Scottsdale Airport officials want to spend nearly $10 million for 7 1 /2 acres of available taxiway land as part of a fiveyear, $14.5 million aviation capital improvement plan to add parking to the crowded airport.
Assistant aviation director Chris Read presented a proposal during an Airport Advisory Commission meeting earlier this month. But he wouldn’t comment for the Tribune on the plan because it is still in the conceptual stage.
"Until the council votes," Read said, "this is just a dream."
The program will be examined by advisory teams for plan construction review and capital improvement before going to a joint meeting of the commission and council aviation subcommittee. If sent to the council, the measure likely would go to a vote sometime in June 2006. Implementation would be July 1.
According to Read’s report, land is 3 1 /2 acres at the north terminal area and 4 acres northeast of the runway. Dave Roderique, manager of the city’s economic vitality department, said three parcels that make up the area near the airport belong to Maricopa County, CGC Properties of Scottsdale and SP 100 LLC of Scottsdale, while the "triangle" land near the runway is owned by Phoenixbased Five B Investments.
The Scottsdale City Council’s decision 25 years ago that the airport will have only one runway limited expansion possibilities. The airport is surrounded by businesses that make up Scottsdale Airpark. The land acquisitions would also allow Scottsdale Airport to build more tie-down areas.
Among three council aviation subcommittee members, only Jim Lane has questions about the plan.
"The (airport) needs to show us what they are obtaining versus costs," Lane said. "The important thing is what are the constituents getting? I don’t want this to just be a feel good for the airport. If they want to buy land to make it bigger, that’s one thing. If there’s more value to adding land and making the area safer for constituents, that’s something else."
Fellow committee member Kevin Osterman called the plan "nothing new" and said that a "fair amount of thought" has been put into it. Councilman Bob Littlefield said it’s "pretty routine, dayto-day stuff with nothing unusual or noteworthy."
Jeff Schlueter, president of Southwest Jet Aviation, sees merit to the plan "assuming it would create better safety."
John Frevola, president of Corporate Jets Scottsdale said it makes sense for the airport to acquire land while it’s available, "to the extent the airport benefits the community, the addition of land is important. It will make it easier to conduct business at the airport."
The commission recommended looking into acquisition of the parcels to relieve airport congestion. The city would have to spend $1.2 million, according to Read’s report. Federal grants would cover the rest of the expenses.