On January 9, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed Marin County that an updated aviation forecast and a supplement to the June 2014 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Extension of Runway 13/31, Gnoss Field Airport, Novato, Marin County, California, would be required for the proposed project to proceed.
A Gnoss Field Airport, Proposed Extension of Runway 13/31, Purpose and Need Working Paper was developed to provide additional information to the public and regulatory agencies regarding the proposed extension of Runway 13/31 at Gnoss Field Airport, Marin County, California. The Working Paper described a change in forecasted aviation activity at Gnoss Field Airport, included a revised purpose and need for a runway extension project resulting from the change in aviation activity, and provided supporting documentation. Changes in aviation activity had reduced the estimated total necessary runway length at Gnoss Field Airport from 4,400 feet, as identified in the June 2014 Final EIS, to 3,600 feet. As Runway 13/31 is currently 3,300 feet long, the current total necessary runway length of 3,600 feet could be obtained with a 300-foot runway extension, instead of the 1,100-foot runway extension identified in the June 2014 Final EIS.
The revised Proposed Project described in the Purpose and Need Working Paper included the following:
- Shift Runway 13/31 106 feet to the north and extend Runway 13/31 300 feet to the northwest from 3,300 feet to a total length of 3,600 feet while maintaining the 75-foot width of the runway;
- Relocate existing taxiways accessing south end of Runway 13/31 to new runway end;
- Extend the parallel taxiway to the full length of the runway maintaining the existing runway to taxiway separation distance of 155 feet;
- Widen the existing Runway Safety Area (RSA) along the sides of Runway 13/31 from its existing width of 120 feet centered on the runway centerline to a RSA width of 150 feet centered on the runway centerline to meet current FAA B-II airport design standards;
- Extend RSA to 300 feet long beyond each end of the shifted Runway 13/31 to meet current FAA B-II airport design standards;
- Corresponding realignment of drainage channels to drain the extended runway and taxiway;
- Corresponding levee extension to protect the extended runway and taxiway from flooding; and
- Relocate the existing Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) navigational aids that pilots use to land at the Airport to reflect the extended runway.
The FAA accepted public comments on the Purpose and Need Working Paper between May 2, 2016 and June 17, 2016, and held a public meeting to accept comments on the Working Paper on June 2, 2016. The public comments received on the Working Paper can be viewed here.
Many of the public commenters stated that the Working Paper underestimated aviation activity at Gnoss Field Airport, and stated that a longer runway length than identified in the Working Paper is necessary at the airport. The FAA is working with Marin County to have the EIS consultant develop a Revised Purpose and Need Working Paper to evaluate all public comments received on the first Purpose and Need Working Paper. The Revised Purpose and Need Working Paper will reconsider the conclusions reached in the first Working Paper, including consideration of all public comments received, and modify those conclusions if appropriate. The schedule for development of the Revised Purpose and Need Working Paper and the public comment period on that document is currently being developed.