Frequently Asked Questions
It should be noted the master plan process will not consider restrictions on airport hours of operation and the types of aeronautical activities that occur at the airport, aircraft traffic patterns, or aircraft arrival and departure paths. FAA retains regulatory authority over these elements of airport operations.
What is an airport master plan?
The airport master plan is a comprehensive study of the physical and operational conditions of the airport to identify future developments to meet the forecasted demand for facilities and the vision for the airport during the next five-, 10- and 20-year planning horizon. Once completed, this plan serves as a policy document to guide the phased development of airport facilities based on actual demand. The associated airport layout plan depicting the airport master plan’s proposed developments is required by the Federal Aviation Administration for the airport to maintain eligibility for federal funding assistance.
Why is Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) preparing an airport master plan?
VRB prepared an airport layout plan update in 2016 that primarily focused on initiating commercial airline service for the local community. Commercial airline service is only one of multiple aviation uses at VRB. This airport master plan will reevaluate land uses on the airport to best accommodate all aviation uses, including the growing corporate and general aviation businesses and users. As the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted for many airports the importance of a diversified revenue stream, this master plan will also consider nonaeronautical development to maximize and diversify VRB’s revenue streams.
What is included in the airport master plan study?
The Vero Beach Airport (VRB) master plan includes:
Inventory of Existing Conditions – including facilities, current airport users and their needs, operations, on-airport land uses and land uses surrounding the airport.
Aerial Mapping – new aerial mapping to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for Airports Geographic Information System Program compliant mapping.
Aviation Activity Forecasts – five-, 10- and 20-year planning forecasts for operations, enplaned passengers, based aircraft, peak levels of activity and critical aircraft (largest regular user) for each area of the airport.
Facility Requirements – a comparison of existing VRB facilities to FAA standards to identify improvements needed to meet the 20-year aviation activity forecasts.
Environmental Considerations – environmental analyses to help select preferred alternatives for needed development while striving to minimize potential environmental impacts.
Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives – the identification and evaluation of a feasible range of alternatives meeting FAA design standards and other applicable requirements for the airport facilities to meet the 20-year aviation activity forecasts.
Facilities Implementation Plan – a practical and economically viable plan for the development of recommended facilities while maximizing the utility of existing facilities.
Airport Layout Plan – in accordance with FAA guidelines, a set of drawings depicting existing conditions and the recommended development for VRB.
Stakeholder and Public Involvement – to ensure community involvement and input in the master planning process, a series of Planning Advisory Committee and public meetings will be held during the study to provide information on the findings to date.
Will noise contours be prepared as part of the airport master plan?
Noise contours were prepared as part of the 2016 VRB airport layout plan (ALP) update and will not be updated as a part of this airport master plan. In the 2016 ALP, the day-night noise level (DNL) 65 decibel A-weighted (dBA) and higher noise contours were all contained within the airport property boundary. The Federal Aviation Administration has adopted DNL 65 dBA as the threshold of significant noise exposure, below which, residential land uses are compatible. Current aircraft operational levels are below 2016 study levels; therefore, noise contours are not included as part of this master plan study.
How will noise be addressed in the airport master plan?
An environmental analysis of any proposed airport development alternatives will be conducted as a part of the airport master plan and will consider any potential changes in the noise environment. However, the preparation of detailed noise contours, if applicable for proposed developments, would occur as part of the project implementation’s environmental evaluation.
It should be noted the master plan process will not consider restrictions on airport hours of operation and the types of aeronautical activities that occur at the airport, aircraft traffic patterns, or aircraft arrival and departure paths. The FAA retains regulatory authority over these elements of airport operations.
What is the schedule for the airport master plan?
The airport master plan study requires approximately 24 months to complete and mandatory federal, state and local reviews. The timing of the completion of these reviews could affect the overall schedule.
Who is paying for this study?
The Vero Beach Airport master plan is 90% federally funded by a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant. The Florida Department of Transportation is providing 5% of the project cost, with the city of Vero Beach contributing the remaining 5% through the Airport Fund.
Will stormwater be considered in the airport master plan?
A separate stormwater master plan is being prepared concurrently with the airport master plan. The findings from the two studies will be coordinated to ensure stormwater is considered in evaluating proposed airport development alternatives and to plan for stormwater facilities to accommodate the developments proposed in the airport master plan.
What is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s role in the airport master plan?
The FAA has established standards for airport planning to ensure the effective use of airport resources to satisfy aviation demand in a financially feasible manner with consideration to the environment. For the Vero Beach Airport master plan:
The FAA will review and concur with the forecast for aviation activity and the identification of the critical aircraft (largest regular user) for each runway.
The FAA will review and approve the airport layout plan for compliance with FAA design standards and airspace compatibility.
The FAA will also serve in an advisory role during the study and may provide comments on the draft documents prepared during the study. The FAA considers the airport master plan a local policy document and, therefore, only accepts the completed airport master plan report.
What is the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)’s role in the airport master plan?
Florida statutes require FDOT to advise and coordinate with local airports in planning a statewide system of airports that promotes the development and improvement of air routes, airport facilities and stimulates the development of aviation commerce. To implement this requirement, FDOT will review the Vero Beach Airport master plan study working papers, final reports and airport layout plan drawings for compliance to requirements in its Guidebook for Airport Master Planning.
What is the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC)?
The PAC is a committee of key airport tenants, users and local government representatives with unique perspectives that will serve to inform the master plan study. They will provide input and suggestions during the study process. While airport staff will attend PAC meetings to observe the discussion, they are not PAC members. PAC members do not have decision-making authority within the planning process.
Who is preparing the airport master plan?
Through a Federal Aviation Administration-compliant, qualifications-based consultant selection process, the city of Vero Beach selected Hanson Professional Services Inc. to lead the airport master plan study. Hanson will be assisted by team members Environmental Science Associates, River Street Group and NV5 Geospatial.
How is public input to the airport master plan obtained?
Public input for the airport master plan study will be collected via a comment form on the project website and in person at a public information workshop. The project website will be updated throughout the duration of the study and include the time, date and location of the workshop; study working documents; meeting summaries; recorded presentations summarizing key information in the working papers; a recorded presentation of the workshop; and FAQs.
Will development at the airport occur during the airport master plan?
There is already approved development that will proceed while the airport master plan is prepared. Any new development identified through this airport master plan effort will require additional study before it can be implemented.
When will the recommended improvements in the airport master plan be implemented?
The airport master plan will identify short-, intermediate- and long-term developments based on forecasted activity levels. Before receiving grant funding to implement recommended development, there must be a demonstrated demand for the project, an environmental review document must be completed and funding for the project must be available.
How can I learn more about the airport master plan?
The project website contains the current airport master plan study information.
How can I comment on the airport master plan?
Comments on the master plan can be made via the comment form on the project website and in person at the public information workshop.
To accommodate increased flights into and out of the airport, will expanding the VRB terminal building be considered? Should consideration be given to moving the restaurant, such as to the second floor, to have more of a view of the airfield?
As part of the airport planning process short-term improvements to the terminal building are anticipated to be completed in 2024. These short-term improvements will increase space for departing passengers at check-in queuing and the holdroom. It will also add a new baggage claim and arrivals lounge.
During the airport master planning process, the requirements for the terminal building were based on high-level evaluations of the space required to increase the level of passenger service and accommodate multiple simultaneous flights. Based on these evaluations a general concept for a single-story 12,430 square-foot terminal building northwest of the current terminal is shown in the master plan alternatives analysis.
The concept for the terminal building shown in the master plan allows the airport to reserve space for these future anticipated needs. When the future terminal expansion is warranted a detailed terminal area plan and site-specific plans and specification for the terminal building will be completed, which would include an evaluation of restaurant space.