McKinney residents, along with surrounding communities, expressed their concerns about the potential environmental impacts of the proposed expansion of the McKinney National Airport during an open house meeting on March 23rd. The event held in East McKinney at Old Settler’s Recreation Center aimed to provide residents with a deep understanding of the preliminary results from the environmental assessment. The assessment includes insight into various aspects of the potential environmental impact, such as traffic, noise, and effects to rivers and wetlands.
The National Environmental Policy Act determines the environmental assessment process, which encompasses evaluating both the proposed action for the project and the alternative if no action is taken. The presentation included a visualization of water resources surrounding the project site, which all lies within airport property already owned by the city. The study area also contains 100-year flood plains to the north and south of the subject property, including streams and wetland areas.
The analysis distinguished that there are no ponds or wetlands in the study area. However, the east-end of the site comprises a stream from a fork of the Trinity River. Mitchell McAnally, an engineer and North Texas aviation leader with engineering firm Garver, commented, “We’re trying to actually protect that stream. We’re trying to actually avoid that tree grove altogether to avoid that and minimize that impact,” addressing the concerns about potential environmental effects from the proposed expansion.
The noise analysis used a model that demonstrated the average amount of noise generated over a year-long period and represented as one 24-hour day. The analysis also included an additional penalty added to sounds during nighttime hours from 10 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. The noise forecast utilized the “very high” demand for average daily departures and estimated 20 flights per day in 2026 and 22 flights per day in 2031 to create the model.
The traffic analysis focused on FM 546, a road that runs just south of the airport and is intended to facilitate the majority of terminal traffic, according to the presentation. The traffic projections estimate the level of service for the roadway would remain at an A level at the proposed 2026 opening date. In 2031, the roadway would recede to a B level of service, indicating light to moderate traffic but still no delays, according to the presentation.
Residents raised various concerns about the project’s impact on the community, including concerns for other cities in neighboring areas, the impact on wildlife, and how this expansion would affect McKinney’s development plans. McKinney resident Billy Simmons spoke during the question and answer session, expressing his concerns about not having airline commitments and a finalized environmental study before the May bond election. In response, Council Member Patrick Cloutier said he would not vote to issue bonds if conditions appear unfavorable.
An upcoming open house meeting is scheduled for April 19th, followed by FAA and the Texas Department of Transportation’s review of the results in the summer. A formal public hearing period will be held later this year, and a final environmental decision is expected before the end of the year for the expansion. To get more information regarding the proposed expansion, residents can visit www.fly-mckinney.com and contact city officials for feedback and questions.
The event was productive, informative, and helpful for residents concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed expansion of the McKinney National Airport. The engagement of city leaders, engineers, and residents created productive discussions on the airport’s expansion, which could lead to optimal outcomes for both the community and the environment.