Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter explains an airport master plan is somewhat like a business plan.
“The FAA would like all sponsors of airports to have a master plan to kind of demonstrates what types of commercial development and what the future is going to look like in that airport,” Potter explained. “So, Heber City’s has been outdated for a time. So, we’re just kicking off this process that will involve a lot of community input. We have a steering committee of members of the community from all different areas in the Valley and different professions and interest. That’s going to sort of oversee this process as we kick off in the next month or so.”
Heber City Manager Matt Brower says the city has two objectives they hope to accomplish with the update to the airport master plan.
“To update our business plan for the airport,” Brower said. “The current one is outdated, it’s antiquated, it no longer reflects current regulations and processes and procedures. The next step is to look at what type of safety improvements might be necessary at the airport to ensure the absolute safety of the airport users.”
Brower addresses the rumors that the master plan is part of a desire to expand the airport
“I don’t think anyone’s ever advocated, in the short time I’ve been here, for expansion of the airport,” Brower continued. “I know elected officials haven’t, staff hasn’t, community members have not. What this is about is ultimately the safety of the airport. The number one priority of the city and the FAA is to ensure the safety of the airport and its users.”
Mayor Potter says however, that standards to keep the airport safe might result in wider or longer runways.
“We can’t restrict any planes from landing at this airport,” Potter explained. “We accept a lot of federal funding and so if there’s more demand in the areas around us, which is really what’s happening. We’re seeing a lot of new planes coming in that are larger and so there are safety standards to make sure that when those planes land that they will be safe. They do say if you’re a C2 airport you need a little bit wider runway and a little bit longer runway, but we do have barriers around our airport. Such as another jurisdiction Daniels and a road. So, we’re not sure how it’s all going to play out, but we do want to make sure that the airport is safe for all users”
Heber Valley Airport has a multi-year agreement with OK3 Air to be the airports Fixed Base Operator. Potter says that agreement won’t change.
“The current FBO has a contract and this will not change anything with that contract,” Potter said. “We’ll honor the commitments that have been made, but there is a lot of space at the airport. There have been questions about well should we build more hangers here? Should there be a second FBO? Should we try and recruit some small businesses maybe a UPS or FedEx or somebody who would want to have a business near an airport? All those things have sort of been up in the air as far as what will the future hold in this airport.”
Mayor Potter says that there will also be opportunities for the public to weigh in on the airport master plan at future public meetings and in upcoming surveys.
“We’ll have community input on what the community wants and what would be beneficial to maintain a self-sufficient airport; not have to support it with the general fund. So, we want to make sure it’s treated like an asset to the community and used in ways that will have the least impact but will also be able to bring in revenues to sustain the airport.”
Mayor Potter says they plan to post more information about the Airport Master Plan process will be on the cities website as it becomes available.