Middleton airport master plan parameters approved by Common Council

Published: Aug. 6, 2019 at 6:55 PM CDT
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A resolution to set parameters for drafting a master plan for improvements to Morey Field in Middleton passed unanimously by the city's Common Council.

Alders say about 40 residents showed up at Tuesday's vote to express their concern for those who live nearby the airport.

City officials in Middleton said as demand for space grows at Morey Field, they are considering expansion options.

Leslie Hayner said she lives just a few miles away from the small airport. She is also the co-founder of a group called Middleton Area Good Neighbors that is working to bring awareness to the issue.

“We don't want to see more and larger planes coming into the airport, and this expansion would mean that a category larger of jets and many more jets would be able to come in, and that really changes the character of Morey Field,” Hayner said.

On Tuesday night, Middleton’s city council voted on a

dealing with how to proceed with a draft of a master plan for a potential expansion.

Mark Opitz, the city’s planner, said they are looking to draft a master plan that would allow them to make improvements in the future if they so choose. He said they started the process last year, as the demand grew for more hangar space and a runway expansion.

"Users have requested for airport improvements. We haven't made any decision to proceed with any of these improvements, but we are taking those requests,” he said.

He said none of the potential plans are set in stone or have a time stamp, but give the city the option to make improvements in the years to come.

"We understand that a lot of concerns have been raised, and we have been, through this advisory committee, trying to accommodate public input at every meeting and take all that into consideration as we develop a draft,” he said.

The resolution approved Tuesday night states in part: "The City of Middleton's desired outcome of this planning process is for a master plan defining an airport that meets the general aviation needs of the city and nearby communities for the next 20 years without significantly changing the mix of small aircraft currently using the airport."

Opitz said after a master plan is drafted, the city would conduct a community survey to get public input, make adjustments to it as needed and then it would move to the council for approval.

Hayner said this is not the first time the city has brought up the idea of an expansion, and that people who live nearby should be a part of the plans before a draft is written.

She said she conducted her own public survey, and most people who answered said they were against an expansion.

“It’s disingenuous for the city to expect people to believe that they are going through all of this and laying out these projects that will just never be done,” Hayner said.

Opitz said, while increasing the number of hangars at the airport might increase traffic at the airport, the goal is to not change the existing character of the airport.