Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials plan to meet with neighbors living off U.S. 183 in Southeast Austin who have safety and environmental concerns about a planned jet fuel tank depot set to be built near their homes and businesses.
The virtual meeting will be at 3 p.m. Jan. 29. For those without internet access, two in-person meetings, with limited capacity because of COVID-19, will be at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the airport.
The planned above-ground jet fuel storage facility is part of the ongoing expansion and development at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The depot’s two tanks are set to be built on the western edge of the airport’s property, along U.S. 183 between McCall Lane and Metropolis Drive. Each tank would store 1.5 million gallons of jet fuel
Construction of the tanks is to begin this spring and is set to be completed within two years.
Last fall, at least half a dozen residents on McCall Lane — some of who are older adults and spoke only Spanish — live within walking distance of the planned fuel facility. They told the American-Statesman they were never informed of the project or given a chance to voice their concerns.
Airport officials said residents were notified of the project in 2017 and 2018 through mailings, community meetings and signs placed in the area.
About 32 residents of McCall Lane and residents of the Colorado Crossings subdivision, located within a mile of the project. signed a petition protesting the facility’s construction and delivered it to the Austin City Council in October.
The community engagement meeting this month comes in response to a resolution passed by the City Council in December calling for an environmental study of the site, a list of alternative sites and improvements in communicating development plans with neighbors.
The resolution was presented by District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes after residents raised quality of life, health and environmental concerns about the proximity of the fuel tank facility to their homes and businesses.
Airport planning and development officials will present information during the meeting, which will feature Spanish interpreters, airport spokesperson Sam Haynes said.
Fuentes and airport officials hosted similar informational meetings for residents in October and November.
“The presentation is going to feature more information about the environmental assessment, what it means, and more about the air quality and emissions of the tank site,” Haynes said. “Our biggest takeaway from the November meeting was that the community really wanted to learn more about the air quality and the environmental piece. So that’s definitely a priority for these meetings this month.”
Join the conversation
The airport will host a virtual community information meeting for all Austin residents virtually at 3 p.m. Jan. 29. No registration is required. To access the meeting, visit speakupaustin.org/ausfuel
That same day, two in-person meetings for community members who don’t have access to the internet or computers will be held at the airport at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. To register to attend one of the in-person meetings, call 512-715-4287 and leave a voicemail or email [email protected] Capacity will be limited for COVID-19 safety.
Austin American-Statesman reporter Natalia Contreras can be reached at 512-626-4036 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, @NataliaECG.