The Tooele County Planning Commission continued a discussion with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports about an overlay zone to protect the Tooele Valley Airport during a work session of the planning commission on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
The Salt City Department of Airports has requested that the county adopt an airport overlay for the Tooele Valley Airport.
If adopted, the overlay zone would restrict land uses, including height and use restrictions, in defined areas surrounding the airport, beyond the normal land use zones already in place.
The overlay zone, once in place, would not only protect the airport, it would also make sure property owners and new buyers are aware of their proximity to the airport and the air space it needs to operate, according to the department and its consultants.
Salt City may expand the use of the Tooele Valley Airport in the future, according to Brady Fredrickson, senior aviation planner with Salt Lake City.
The master plan for Salt Lake City’s airport system calls for the Tooele Valley Airport to be used to serve general aviation, flight training — including instrument landing, skydiving, and support for the Bureau of Land Management’s fire fighting mission.
The BLM has plans to expand their footprint at Tooele Valley Airport, according to Brady.
The BLM will spend $3.2 million on the expansion. The airport will put in another $1.5 million, he said.
The Salt Lake Department of Airports is also eyeing the Tooele Valley Airport for expansion and relocation of some general aviation service.
Salt Lake City International Airport is also home to over 200 general aviation aircraft, which is more than any other major international airport, according to Fredrickson.
It’s not just the number of general aviation planes at the airport, but that amount of general aviation planes tie up a large amount of airspace to keep them separated from the larger planes, according to Fredrickson.
The increase in general aviation at Tooele Valley Airport would make the aiport home to more general aviation planes, possibly increasing traffic from corporate business jets as well as more general recreation and personal aviation, he said.
Salt Lake’s South Valley Airport offers limited opportunities for expansion of general aviation because their runway is in line with Salt Lake International Airport’s runway.
Fredrickson also said that Salt Lake Department of Airports would like to see a flight school and possibly a facility to train aircraft maintenance personnel at the Tooele Valley Airport in the future.
“Tooele Valley Airport is a diamond in the rough,” Fredrickson said.
Tooele Valley Airport currently provides many aviation-related services, including business-related flying, skydiving, law enforcement/fire/rescue flying services, recreational flying, and flight training.
It is operated with one primary runway, oriented in a general north-south direction, along with a supporting parallel taxiway system, according to the Salt Lake Airport Department.
The airport was created in the early 1970s as a result of a 1969 study by the Tooele County Commission under the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Tooele County’s land use plan.
Tooele County approached Salt Lake City Airport in the early 90s and asked them to take control of the airport, according to Steven Domino, senior planning consultant with RS&H Consultants and the former director of planning and capital programming for the Salt Lake Department of Airports.
During the Nov. 4 meeting of the planning commission, some landowners in the area of the airport expressed concern that the airport overlay is just a way to devalue their property.“The airport has no conditional use permit from the County,” said Neil Kunz, Erda. “They have expanded without approval from the County. … They have provided no compensation for taking increased airspace. … They want to devalue property and buy it cheap.”
The Tooele Valley Airport, sometimes called the Erda Airport, is on Erda Way, approximately 2.8 miles west of state Route 36 at 4663 N Airport Road.
While a consultant for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports has prepared a report with a proposed overlay for the Tooele Valley Airport, the Tooele County Planning Commission is in the discussion stage of developing draft language for an overlay ordinance, prior to consideration in a business meeting.