On January 28, 2013, Pittsfield Charter Township, Michigan, and Committee for Preserving Community Quality, Inc., filed a Petition with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation demanding an end to federal funding of an extension of the main runway at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB), which is located entirely within the boundaries of Pittsfield Charter Township. The Petitioners, Pittsfield and CPCQ, are represented by Steven M. Taber of Taber Law Group, P.C., of Irvine, California.
Taking advantage of their rights under the Airport and Airway Safety, Capacity, Noise Improvement, and Intermodal Transportation Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-581), the U.S. Constitution, and the Administrative Procedure Act, Pittsfield and CPCQ essentially state three reasons why the federal government should not provide funding for the extension of the main runway at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
First, neither the Michigan Department of Transportation nor the Federal Aviation Administration has given the communities’ interest “fair consideration” as required under federal law. The expansion plans at the airport, for example, do not comply with the planning in the surrounding communities, as both Pittsfield and Lodi Township have told both the City and MDOT. Moreover, the City of Ann Arbor’s goals with respect to the airport are not the same as Pittsfield and CPCQ’s goals in that extending the main runway would increase safety concerns of low-flying aircraft near homes in the surrounding densely populated communities. In addition, as a result of extending the runway, the airport will attract more and heavier aircraft and increase landings at night, which will increase the safety risk to the surrounding communities as well as lower their property values.
Second, the extension of the runway will cause significant environmental impacts on the surrounding communities. Primary among these impacts is the increase in noise that the surrounding communities will experience. Although MDOT was required to analyze the increase in noise, it has, so far, failed to do so. Another unanalyzed environmental concern is the effect the runway extension will have on the water quality for Ann Arbor’s drinking water supply since much of Ann Arbor’s drinking water comes from wells located on airport property. Pittsfield and CPCQ also have additional concerns about the presence of hazardous wildlife near the airport that could cause disastrous wildlife strikes over a densely populated area, as well as concerns about the effect more and heavier jets will have on the air quality in the communities.
Third, although the City of Ann Arbor has touted this extension as needed for “safety,” the City has failed to link any “purpose or need” for the extension as required by federal law. Further, any aircraft that cannot be accommodated at the airport can be safely accommodated at Willow Run Airport, a mere 12 miles from Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
Pittsfield and CPCQ ask that the Secretary not permit MDOT to use any federal funds to pay for the extension of the runway and inform MDOT that Pittsfield, as the municipal jurisdiction in which the airport sits, must be consulted and its approval obtained prior to any activities are taken that will increase or alter operations at the airport.
Here are links to the Petition and its Exhibits.
- Petition to Deny Approval and Funding for the Major Runway Extension Project at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB) Located in Pittsfield Charter Township, Michigan including all 31 exhibits (85 MB).
- Petition to Deny Approval and Funding for the Major Runway Extension Project at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB) Located in Pittsfield Charter Township, Michigan. No Exhibits.
- Exhibit 1 – Airport Information for Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (KARB) as Reported on AirNav.com.
- Exhibit 2 – Airport Master Record for Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (FAA Form 5010-1).
- Exhibit 3 – Bylaws of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Advisory Committee.
- Exhibit 4 – Resolution R-280-7-78 of the Ann Arbor City Council Approving Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Charter Township. July 6, 1978.
- Exhibit 5 – Agreement Supplementing 1979 Policy Statement Relative to Airport Layout Plans, Aeronautical Facilities and Non-Aeronautical Facilities at the Ann Arbor Airport. October 1, 2009.
- Exhibit 6 – Resolution R-31-1-07 of the Ann Arbor City Council to Approve the URS Corporation Airport Layout Plan Update for the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport which Illustrates Existing and Proposed Facilities to meet the Future Demands of Airport Tenants and Users. January 22, 2007.
- Exhibit 7 – February 28, 2007, Request by the Ann Arbor City Council to MDOT to approve the Revised Airport Layout Plan.
- Exhibit 8 – March 24, 2009, Res #09-23 of Pittsfield Charter Township Opposing Proposed Expansion of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Runway.
- Exhibit 9 – May 12, 2009, Resolution # 2009-009 of Lodi Township Opposing Proposed Runway Expansion of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
- Exhibit 10 – FAA Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment; Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, Ann Arbor, MI. 74 Fed.Reg. 28768 (June 17, 2009).
- Exhibit 11 – Meeting Minutes from the May 4, 2009, meeting of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Citizens Advisory Committee.
- Exhibit 12 – Meeting Minutes of the July 20, 2009, meeting of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Citizens Advisory Committee.
- Exhibit 13 – Meeting packet for the February 22, 2010, meeting of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Citizens Advisory Committee.
- Exhibit 14 – Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment; Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, Ann Arbor, MI. 75 Fed.Reg. 13334 (March 19, 2010).
- Exhibit 15 – April 19, 2010, Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment submitted by Pittsfield Charter Township.
- Exhibit 16 – April 19, 2010, Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment submitted by Committee for Preserving Community Quality.
- Exhibit 17 – April 19, 2010, Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment submitted by Janis A. Bobrin, Washtenaw County, Michigan Water Resources Commissioner.
- Exhibit 18 – May 13, 2010, Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Exhibit 19 – November 15, 2010, Response of Michigan Department of Transportation to FAA’s Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment.
- Exhibit 20 – April 27, 2012, Ann Arbor Chronicle Article regarding Airport Request for Additional Funding.
- Exhibit 21 – FAA Grant Assurances Airport Sponsors (4/2012).
- Exhibit 22 – Map of Lakes and Ponds that Support Hazardous Wildlife in Vicinity of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
- Exhibit 23 – URS Study Excluded from Draft Environmental Assessment and Airport Layout Plan.
- Exhibit 24 – Images of Aircraft Emergency Landing: Stonebridge Golf Course – June, 2009.
- Exhibit 25 – National Safety Transportation Board Reports regarding fatal accidents in the vicinity of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
- Exhibit 26 – March, 2010, Draft Ann Arbor Municipal Airport Environmental Assessment.
- Exhibit 27 – Supplemental Report Airport User Survey, December, 2009.
- Exhibit 28 – Nonattainment Status for Each County by Year for Michigan.
- Exhibit 29 – 2008 Drinking Water Quality Report, Ann Arbor Public Services.
- Exhibit 30 – The Ann Arbor Chronicle Article from April 27, 2012 indicating rise in water table at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
- Exhibit 31 – 2007 and 2008 Airport Layout Plans for Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.
Other Media coverage of the filing:
OPINION: Ann Arbor airport needs to remain ‘sleepy hollow’ airport it was meant to be. Michael Petraszko, Guest Columnist, AnnArbor.com. February 14, 2013.
Turbulent ride continues for proposed runway expansion at Ann Arbor airport. Amy Biolchini, AnnArbor.com. February 7, 2013.
Pittsfield Township, residents ask federal government to block Ann Arbor airport expansion. Amy Biolchini, AnnArbor.com. February 5, 2013.