Next Steps

On January 24, 2012, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors took final action and approved certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport Master Plan and related General Plan and Zoning amendments.

The approval allows the Airport to lay the groundwork for the first of several short-term improvement projects.

Short-Term Project Elements Overview (within 5 years)

  • Extend the main runway (Runway 14/32) from 5,115 to 6,000 feet (885 feet total)
  • Airfield improvements to support the runway extension:
    • Extend the crosswind runway (Runway 1/19) 200 feet to the north
    • Construct connecting taxiways
    • Place about 650 feet of Airport Creek into a culvert and implement related drainage improvements

Visit Proposed Airport Projects for more information about short and long term projects.


Recent events

On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, the Board of Supervisors considered the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), and conducted a public hearing on the merits of the Master Plan Update. A straw vote was taken and the BOS voted to certify the FEIR and approve the Master Plan Update.

The Airport released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and revisions to the Master Plan Update documents on August 5, 2011. The DEIR was circulated for 45 days for review and comment by the public and other interested parties, agencies, and organizations. During this period there was an open house meeting and one planning commission meeting where public comments were accepted. Written comments were also accepted via an online form, email, and postal mail through 5:00 pm PDT on September 19, 2011.

After the comment period closed the County responded to comments and prepared the Final EIR (FEIR) Response to Comments Document, which includes all written comments received regarding the project’s environmental impacts.

The Response to Comments was prepared as a separate document from the EIR. The FEIR consists of the DEIR and the Response to Comments document. The Sonoma County Planning Commission considered the FEIR and conducted a public hearing on December 1, 2011.  Following the public hearing the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the FEIR, required legal findings, and the merits of the project.

Please check back for updates.

News: Sonoma County Announces Community Engagement Process on Proposed Airport Safety and Improvement Project (February 19, 2011)

Master Plan Update 2007, Chapter 5, Finance and Implementation:
Pages 5-6 through 5-8

Environmental Review

Environmental review under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will be required before this plan can be adopted. It is anticipated that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be required.

It is also anticipated that an Environmental Assessment (EA) will need to be prepared under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), although it is also possible that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required. This determination is up to the FAA.

Sonoma County General Plan 2020 Air Transportation Element (Draft)

Sonoma County is currently in the process of updating its County General Plan (“Sonoma County General Plan 2020”) to provide policy guidelines for the unincorporated areas of the county to direct growth and development to the year 2020. Included in the General Plan update process is an updated General Plan Air Transportation Element (ATE). A review of the Public Hearing Draft 2020 Air Transportation Element (undated) indicates that virtually all of the commuter and scheduled airline service assumptions, and the goals and objectives used in the 1992 ATE have been carried forward with the exception of the 2005 date, which has been changed to 2020.

The currently adopted ATE had projected certain activity levels for 2005 based on aircraft fleet mix and boarding load factors developed in 1992. Since then many things have changed in the airline industry. As a result, the ATE must be amended. For example, the 15-passenger commuter airliners and 50-passenger regional jets used as the bases for the ATE projections will not likely ever see substantial service at the Sonoma County Airport.

Similarly, the definition of a commuter airliner set forth in the ATE is not consistent with current terminology. The ATE classifies any commercial aircraft used in scheduled intrastate service in light of current industry practices as a commuter airline. This means that any aircraft, including those with as many as 135 passenger seats and capable of using the airport, used in intrastate service would be classified as a commuter airline. This definition also needs to be reevaluated.

For reasons of consistency, the assumptions developed in the Sonoma County Airport Master Plan Update and the 2020 Sonoma County General Plan Update must be the same. The ATE should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure that any assumptions or other information projected to the year 2020 are consistent with the operational realities of the Airport and current airline needs.

Comprehensive Airport Land Use Plan

In January 2001, the Sonoma County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) adopted the Comprehensive Airport Land Use Plan (CALUP) Update for Sonoma County. The plan presents the ALUC’s noise, safety and airspace policies for the Sonoma County airports, including STS. The safety zones in this plan were defined to encompass areas that are regularly overflown at and below traffic pattern altitude. Noise policies were linked to the CNEL 55dB noise contour produced for the plan. Airspace policies were tied to the airspace surfaces defined in Federal Aviation Regulations Part 77.

The written policies in the Comprehensive Airport Land Use Plan Update are consistent with the guidance contained in the California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook (December 1993 edition). However, the Handbook was updated in 2002 and its safety zone configurations were revised.

For this reason alone the CALUP should be updated. State ALUC law requires that the draft airport master plan be reviewed by the ALUC for a consistency determination. Because this Master Plan proposes changing the lengths of Runways 1-19 and 14-32, and the fact that the CALUP safety zones are outdated, the CALUP Airport Noise and Safety Zones Map for the Sonoma County Airport should be revised.