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Consultant says proposed stadium won’t affect airport operations

A consultant hired by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Campus Improvement Authority says a domed stadium on 42 acres at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane would not disrupt operations at McCarran International Airport.

Ben Doyle, president and owner of Alexandria, Virginia-based Capitol Airspace Group, said Wednesday that, based on existing Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, a $1.3 billion stadium would not interfere with flights at McCarran.

As part of the same report, David Frommer, executive director of planning and construction at UNLV, said the proposed stadium site, three-tenths of a mile from the north end of a McCarran runway, is outside an area that would require noise mitigation building measures under Clark County noise regulations.

But Chris Jones, chief marketing officer at McCarran, said the FAA is still reviewing the stadium site and how it might affect McCarran.

“We can’t do anything to diminish the capacity of McCarran,” Jones said. “The airport provides a $28 billion annual economic impact on the community, and we cannot kill the golden goose.”

Doyle’s report indicates that structures more than 200 feet tall would not result in operational restrictions on more than half the 42 acres, based on current FAA regulations. Only a small portion of the acreage would fall within a runway protection zone that could create operational hazards.

The Campus Improvement Authority, composed of four members of the Nevada Board of Regents, executives from the gaming industry and a member of the Clark County Commission, is studying the best use of the 42 acres just west of the UNLV campus.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Majestic Realty have proposed building a 65,000-seat stadium at the site through a public-private partnership. The stadium would house UNLV football, concerts, sporting events and, possibly, a National Football League team. The Oakland Raiders are contemplating relocating to Las Vegas.

Doyle cited numerous stadiums nationwide that are in close proximity to airport runways. The Daytona International Speedway in Florida is even closer to Daytona Beach International Airport than McCarran is to the proposed stadium site. But the runways there are positioned next to the speedway, not in line with it.

Likewise, the Raiders’ stadium in Oakland, O.Co Coliseum, is within 1.2 miles of Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, but the runways do not align with the stadium.

The Campus Improvement Authority is reviewing the stadium plan at the same time as the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. Authority members are forwarding questions to the committee related to concerns about traffic on Tropicana Avenue, Paradise Road and Koval Lane — important routes to McCarran that are adjacent to the stadium site.

The authority also will inquire about safe routes campus residents would use to get to and from the proposed stadium and what impact, if any, events outside the stadium would have on airport operations, including light displays and tethered balloons.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis will appear at the April 28 meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, a source told the Review-Journal. The committee’s non-binding recommendations are due to the state by the end of July. The Campus Improvement Authority must submit a report to the state by the end of September.

At last month’s tourism infrastructure committee meeting, Clark County Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis said accessibility issues are important to the airport in addition to operations.

She also warned that the Department of Homeland Security could develop restrictions on airport perimeter development.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

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