January 24, 2020: Memorandum sent to the RDU Airport Authority (RDUAA)
From: Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition
At 3:26pm on Thursday, January 23, 2020 a “Notice of Special Meeting of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board on January 27, 2020” (at 1pm) was emailed to those who had requested such notices.
The first stated purpose for this special meeting is: “to consider the Terminal 1 Expansion Program.”
This “expansion” is likely going to be a staff request to for SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES to the Aeronautical Component(s) of the Vision 2040 Plan ALP (Airport Layout Plan). In particular, adding a substantial increase in the number of new gates and larger expansion of Terminal 1 than promised under the Vision 2040 public plan. In addition, potentially moving forward with lengthening the eastern runway.
These actions, if approved, would SUBSTANTIALLY increase air traffic impacts to William B. Umstead State Park. The result would be substantial negative impacts to Umstead State Park.
The current Vision 2040 calls for all but five (5) of the new gates at RDU to be on the WEST side of the airport, and the replacement (and longer runway) to the west to be built BEFORE any lengthening of the runway near Umstead State Park be considered. Those were the public commitments made under Vision 2040.
In addition, adding substantially more gates with Terminal 1 expansion (near Umstead State park) than included in the Vision 2040 Plan would be in direct CONFLICT with the recent key recommendation from the RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force, Regional Transportation Alliance that recommends terminal expansion on the WEST side of the airport, away from Umstead State Park (http://letsgetmoving.org/RDUAID), specifically, the RDU Task Force recommendation sates:
“Consider creation of a new “terminal 3” – north of terminal 2, away from Umstead State Park”
Please consider your RDU Task Force recommendation, solicit public input, then consider alternatives first - prior to considering such major changes in Vision 2040 ALP that would increase the detrimental impacts on William B. Umstead State Park, a Park since 1934 and a 4(f) property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Download a PDF of the email here.
This is major change to the Vision 2040 Master plan. All without public input, the RDUAA want to: dramatically increase the number gates and terminal size on the east, Umstead State Park side, and move forward first to lengthening of the eastern runway.
Please attend this meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 1pm.
The Regional Transportation Alliance RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force released its preliminary findings on January 17, 2020. Their main point was to recommend a total revamp of RDU's land use plan - with appreciation to Umstead State Park!
Here are their Airport Land Use Recommendations
Written by Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch - January 16, 2020
The RDU Airport Authority today delayed a vote on an 8-foot high, 8.3-mile fence that would cut through parts of Umstead Park, after meeting with state parks officials who have serious reservations about the project.
The Authority has proposed building the security fence, which would be topped with three rows of barbed wire.
It would abut parts of the Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail, bisecting it in two places. The trail is used by tens of thousands of hikers, cyclists and equestrians every year. The fence’s purpose is to keep trespassers off airport property, which intersects with the park.
Bill Sandifer, the Authority’s chief operating officer, told the board that the airport would be seeking a “compromise” to the fence.
“There’s more conversation to be had,” Sandifer said. “We’re taking a short pause. But the fence isn’t going away. We have needs on that side of the airport.”
Continue reading the article at NC Policy Watch.
On Thursday, January 16, 2020, NC State Parks gave an offer to RDUAA to buy Tract 286 and add it to Umstead State Park. The RDUAA did not accept their offer.
NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Chief Deputy Secretary D. Reid Wilson said in the letter:
"However, a fence as proposed presents multiple problems for the park and its users:
Read the full NC State Parks letter to RDU here.
Available for just $10 at the Umstead State Park Visitor Center and Great Outdoor Provision Co (Cameron Village).
NC Senator Wiley Nickel made a big announcement on September 19, 2019 on his Facebook page:
“We need to protect the Umstead State Park and stop the RDU Quarry.
I have no control over the Raleigh City Council and the decisions they make. However, as a State Senator I do have influence over the response from the State of North Carolina.
In the event that the lawsuit goes as expected my office has lined up multiple sources of revenue for RDU and will present the airport with a Plan B for their consideration. My plan would allow RDU to get paid the same amount of money they would have received under the Wake Stone lease as long as they keep this land intact and dedicated to nature. This beautiful land should be preserved for ALL Wake county residents, our children, their children and so on.
I want to leave our kids a legacy that includes more park land and open space, not a 400 foot hole in the ground.”
We are also grateful to the Raleigh City Council for issuing a statement stating their opposition to the proposed RDU quarry. They also said the RDUAA should have obtained the City’s permission before entering into the quarry lease. Their statement issued Tuesday September 17, 2019 is:
The City of Raleigh is not in favor of the use of the Odd Fellows Tract as a quarry and believes that the RDU Airport should have obtained the City’s permission before entering into the quarry lease. The City will wait for the judge’s decision in The Umstead Coalition, et al. v. RDU Airport Authority and Wake Stone Corporation lawsuit and, following the hearing on Thursday, September 19, will decide if and what legal steps it may take going forward.
View the resolution here.
Plan Wake info and survey link
How will we plan for the next 250,000 residents of Wake County? You can be a part of this discussion by sharing your thoughts on the priority issues that Wake County should focus on to prepare for the next generation.
Wake County is kicking off the process to develop its first-ever county-wide comprehensive plan and we need your input to make the project a success. Provide your priorities for the future of Wake County on the project website, www.planwake.org. This public-driven process will include three rounds of public engagement and targets revealing the new plan in 2020. The first round, Community Priorities, will last through the fall of 2018.
Learn more about PlanWake on the project website, www.planwake.org, which provides numerous ways of keeping up with the project, including a link to the first of three online public surveys and an events calendar with information about where and when the planning team will provide face-to-face public outreach. You can also sign up for emails to stay up-to-date on the project.
RDUAA request to be exempted to some of the Neuse Buffer Rules FAILED.
Thanks to all the citizens and our local Senators and Representatives that stood up and said "no."
However, the definition of "Airport Facilities" was broadened which allows more options for streams to be destroyed "with mitigation." That is never as good for the environment as keeping our healthy streams intact.
We hope that RDUAA works with DEQ to ensure the policy of avoidance first, then minimization, and mitigation as the last option will be followed. That is the best process to protect the water quality and quantify of Crabtree Creek and Umstead State Park. All the airport lands drain directly into Umstead State Park, or via Crabtree Creek.
The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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