Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an Airport Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a process to plan for the short, intermediate, and long term development goals of the Airport.  The Airport Master Plan for Monterey Regional Airport will have a 20-year planning horizon based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation activity forecasts and will be developed through a combination of professional evaluation and public involvement.  The goal of the Airport Master Plan is to provide the framework needed to guide future airport development that will cost-effectively satisfy aviation demand, while considering potential environmental and socioeconomic issues.

The Airport Master Plan will not include land use policies that would guide growth in the manner that a specific plan or general plan would provide, nor does the Airport Master Plan work in conjunction with any type of implementing regulations, such as a zoning ordinance.  In fact, the recommendations contained in an Airport Master Plan do not necessarily represent the views of FAA, and acceptance of the Airport Master Plan by FAA does not constitute a commitment on the part of FAA to participate in any development depicted in the Airport Master Plan or indicate that the proposed development is environmentally acceptable.  Rather, the Airport Master Plan is essentially a facility planning study that sets forth a conceptual framework for possible future airport development.  It is only aviation activity forecasts and the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) for an airport that is approved by FAA (see FAQs below for more information on these key components of the Airport Master Plan).

Some of the specific objectives of the Airport Master Plan for Monterey Regional Airport include the following:

  • Maintain and ensure the safety and security of the Airport;
  • Plan for phased, incremental development that meets foreseeable aviation demand and maintains flexibility for change; and
  • Evaluate sustainability options and environmental requirements.

What are Aviation Activity Forecasts?

Airport facility planning relies, in part, on a definition of the future aviation activity that may reasonably be expected to occur during the useful life of the Airport’s key components.  In airport master planning, this involves projecting potential aviation activity for a 20-year timeframe.  Aviation demand forecasting for Monterey Regional Airport will consider commercial passenger service projections, based aircraft forecasts, and aircraft operational activity projections.

FAA has oversight responsibility to review and approve aviation forecasts developed in conjunction with airport planning studies.  The FAA will review individual airport forecasts with the objective of comparing them to its own Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF) and the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).  In addition, aviation activity forecasts may be an important input to future benefit-cost analyses associated with airport development; FAA reviews these analyses when federal funding requests are submitted.

What is an Airport Layout Plan (ALP)?

The ALP is an important component of the Airport Master Plan and will reflect the actual and/or planned modifications to the Airport.  FAA approval of the ALP indicates that the existing facilities and proposed development depicted on the ALP conforms to the FAA airport design standards and that the FAA finds the proposed development to be safe and efficient.

An ALP can be described as one big “blueprint.”  It is a single, two-dimensional plan-view drawing of an airport that shows existing and proposed airport facilities.  Additional pages of drawings in the ALP set may include: Terminal/Building Area Plans, Airspace Plans, Property Maps, and on-airport Land Use Maps.

The ALP is the major product of the Airport Master Plan which contains information used by the FAA to program future funding assistance and to monitor an airport’s compliance with design standards and grant assurances.  It also allows the FAA to anticipate budgetary and procedural needs and to protect the airspace required for facility or aircraft approach procedure improvements.

Why is MPAD completing an Airport Master Plan?

The FAA recommends that public use airports such as Monterey Regional Airport prepare a new Airport Master Plan every 7-10 years or as local aviation conditions change.  The previous Master Plan was completed in 1992.  Therefore, the Monterey Peninsula Airport District (MPAD) has initiated this Airport Master Plan to ensure the Airport continues to be operated in a safe and efficient manner and to address any changes in the aviation industry both locally and nationally.

Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?

Following a qualifications-based selection process, Coffman Associates, Inc. was selected to undertake the Airport Master Plan study.  Coffman Associates is a national aviation consulting firm specializing in airport planning studies.

Who is funding the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA provides 90 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 10 percent coming from MPAD.  The FAA funding is sourced from the Aviation Trust Fund, which is funded exclusively by various aviation user fees, including taxes on airline tickets, aviation fuel, and some aircraft parts.

What are the components of the Airport Master Plan Update?

  • Existing Airport Inventory
  • Aviation Activity Forecasts (to be approved by the FAA)
  • Demand/Capacity Analysis
  • Facility Requirements
  • Development Alternatives
  • On-Airport Recommended Development Concept Plan
  • Master Plan Concept and Financial Plan
  • Environmental Overview
  • Land Use Compatibility Analysis
  • Sustainability Analysis
  • Airport Layout Plan (to be approved by the FAA)

What would be the Environmental Review Process for the Airport Master Plan?

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

•    MPAD is the lead agency for purposes of CEQA.

•    CEQA review for the Airport Master Plan will proceed in the following manner:

  1. MPAD’s environmental consultant will prepare an Initial Study to evaluate the environmental ramifications of the proposed Airport Master Plan.
  2. MPAD will utilize the Initial Study to inform their decision as to whether preparation of a Negative Declaration (ND), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), or Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is warranted.
    • An EIR will be required if there is substantial evidence that any aspect of the Master Plan, either individually or cumulatively, may cause a significant effect on the environment.
    • The environmental consultant and MPAD staff will next collaborate on the preparation and circulation, for public and agency review/comment, of the ND, MND, or EIR.
    • The length of time required to prepare and circulate the environmental document will depend upon what type of document is needed, but may be as short as 4 to 6 months and as long as one year or more.
  3. MPAD’s Board will be presented with an environmental document for consideration, which it must review and certify the adequacy of prior to the approval of the proposed Airport Master Plan.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

•    The FAA is the lead agency for purposes of NEPA.

•   The environmental consultant will prepare an Environmental Overview that considers environmental resources defined in FAA Order 5050.4B, Airport Environmental Handbook.  The Environmental Overview will identify components of the Airport Master Plan that may require further NEPA analysis and will be included as an appendix to the Airport Master Plan.

•    After taking into consideration the Environmental Overview, the FAA will determine the level of environmental review required for future projects identified in the Airport Master Plan, i.e., an Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact or Environmental Impact Statement, and whether such review will occur via joint/combined (i.e., CEQA/NEPA) or separate documents.

 Who approves the Airport Master Plan?

The Airport Master Plan will be approved by the MPAD Board. Approval can only occur, however, after compliance with the CEQA, which may include, but not be limited to, preparation and adoption of a ND or MND and/or preparation and certification of an EIR for the Airport Master Plan.

Once the Board has approved the Airport Master Plan, the Airport Master Plan can be used as a policy document that sets forth the conceptual framework for possible future airport development.  However, any actual or planned modifications to the Airport that is reflected in the Airport Master Plan, but is not reflected in the accompanying ALP, will require an ALP update prior to the Board’s examination of any proposed development item.

What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:

  • FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of airport services) that will be prepared as part of the master plan process; and
  • FAA formally approves the ALP for airspace and design standards.

In addition, the FAA has a supportive and advisory role during the preparation of the Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on Airport Master Plan findings, recommendations and deliverables, and may offer technical assistance and support. The FAA does not formally approve the Airport Master Plan since it is considered a local policy or guidance document.

Are Additional Studies Needed Before the Airport Proceeds With a Recommended Construction Project?

Yes.  Approval by the FAA of the ALP means only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that the depiction is in general conformance with FAA standards.  Additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented.  At a minimum, these usually include NEPA and CEQA documentation (as discussed in the FAQ above), and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.

What is the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC)?

The PAC includes representatives from FAA, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), airport businesses, tenants, area economic development interests, neighborhood associations, area city governments, and local citizen interest groups that have been selected by the consultant to represent a broad constituency of airport stakeholders.  The PAC has been limited to 25 members to help facilitate detailed discussion and exchange of ideas.  The PAC will provide guidance and feedback on draft Master Plan documents.  PAC meetings take place at key milestones in the planning process.

How can I get involved and stay informed?

All pertinent Airport Master Plan materials, including draft submissions, are posted to a dedicated Airport Master Plan website: www.montereyairport.com.  Public comments can be submitted on the Airport Master Plan website.  In addition, this Airport Master Plan calls for up to five public information workshops which will be held during the Airport Master Plan development process.  The public information workshop will be advertised locally and on this Airport Master Plan website.