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Heber Valley Airport upgrade study sets sights on final draft

The Heber Valley Airport services private flights south of downtown Heber City.
Ben Lasseter
The Heber Valley Airport services private flights south of downtown Heber City.

Planners are refining their work to update the Heber Valley Airport after the Heber City Council gave the green light Tuesday.

The Heber airport project team cleared another step with city government Tuesday toward sending a master plan to the federal government May 1.

In its first regular meeting of 2023, the city council approved it to progress to the next stage.

City Manager Matt Brower explained what that means in a recent interview with KPCW:

“Over the next month and a half, I complete the airport layout plan set. It will then be incorporated into the master plan document. And then of course, the council eventually approves that document and submits it to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).”

He said the current layout plan is mostly visual, showing what the airport may look like in the future. The eventual master plan will include all details of renovations. According to Brower, the city likely wouldn’t begin construction of a new runway for another 10 to 15 years, or until the current runway isn’t holding up anymore.

The layout plan shows the runway farther from U.S. Highway 189 than it is now, the runway widened from 75 feet to 100 feet, and larger safety buffer zones around it. That plan also includes a park, new hangars and a pilots’ lounge.

Leaders of the planning effort say they want to do the minimum required to be in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s safety standards.

Ron Phillips is a former member of the airport advisory board, which helps the city and consultants during the planning process. At the council meeting, he said years ago, he resigned from the board over fears the city was trending in the wrong direction and would expose itself to lawsuits by failing to meet safety standards, but now he’s reassured.

“I think you're meeting the city's needs,” Phillips said. “I think you're meeting a majority of the citizens’ desires about the airport, and I compliment you for the work that's been done. Thank you very much.”

The next time the airport is on the city council’s agenda is February 17. At that time, the council could approve the layout plan. That would set up the final stage of the three-year planning process and one final public airport meeting with the city council in April.

More details about the Heber Valley Airport planning process can be found at hebervalleyflightpath.com.

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