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FAA: Las Vegas Raiders stadium won’t impact McCarran traffic

Updated August 16, 2017 - 5:55 pm

A 225-foot-tall NFL stadium proposed by the Raiders would not impact jetliners taking off or landing at McCarran International Airport, according to preliminary findings issued Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Raiders want to build a 65,000-seat domed venue on a vacant 62-acre plot of land on Russell Road, just west of Interstate 15 and roughly 1 ½ miles from the nation’s eighth-busiest airport.

The FAA is now soliciting public comments through Sept. 22 as an aeronautical study moves forward, according to a public notice issued by the agency. That means Clark County Commissioners might not be able to consider zoning permits until October at the earliest.

Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said he does not know whether the FAA’s timetable will affect plans to to start building the stadium in November.

“We’re reaching out to the FAA to see if we can make an accommodation,” Sisolak said.

The Raiders did not respond to phone calls seeking comment. Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, could not be reached for comment.

Coincidentally, the report was issued the same day the Clark County Commission delayed zoning discussions about a use permit, development waivers and design reviews for the stadium — pending the FAA’s determination.

“We just need to get the land use approval done in the foreseeable future so they can get people out there working,” Sisolak said. “It’s just another positive step in this marathon race.”

Even though the FAA has preliminarily found that the Raiders stadium would not impact air traffic or military airspace in Las Vegas, the agency noted the proposed structure exceeds obstruction standards by 75 feet.

The Raiders submitted 21 different versions of stadium plans in June. The FAA reviews any structure 200 feet or taller, regardless of location, as part of its obstruction evaluation and airport airspace analysis.

FAA officials don’t have authority over local building decisions. However, a Clark County ordinance states that a project cannot be approved if the FAA finds any structure — including a stadium — to be an airspace hazard, county officials have said.

The Clark County Department of Aviation is not a party to the FAA study, and the department’s director, Rosemary Vassiliadis, has previously said that the Russell site would not present the airport with concerns, adding that she’d await the FAA’s findings.

Vassiliadis could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Eight NFL teams currently play in domed venues that range in height from the Dallas Cowboys’ 320-foot-tall AT&T Stadium to the 128-foot-tall Ford Field where the Detroit Lions play. The Las Vegas stadium project, estimated to cost about $1.9 billion, led the NFL to approve the Raiders’ relocation from Oakland to Southern Nevada.

It’s unknown how long the FAA study will take to complete. It took more than a year to resolve radar interference issues at Los Angeles International Airport that were caused by the height of the Rams’ planned stadium in Inglewood.

The Rams ultimately agreed to install a secondary aircraft tracking system on the stadium. The Rams’ stadium will be shared with the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and, like the Raiders’ stadium in Las Vegas, is scheduled to open in time for the 2020 season.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter. Review-Journal writer Richard N. Velotta contributed to this report.

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