No restrictions no good for airport
August 27, 2004
After reading the latest series of opinion letters on the airport, I feel as a “non-local, non-vocal” recently acquired property owner in Truckee, I may have made a mistake in choosing Truckee as a town that I would like to eventually relocate to. Visiting Truckee on Aug. 15 and 16, I experienced first-hand the issues that numerous members of the community have raised. Every five minutes there was the drone of planes and jets over Truckee. To my untrained eye these planes did not seem to adhere to any prescribed flight corridors and flew continuously over residential areas. I can understand the concern of the citizens of Truckee, for they are the ones most affected by the airport, not those living on the shores of Lake Tahoe.Keeping abreast of the Truckee airport issues, I believe some points addressed in the letters of the most strident supporters of the airport need to be addressed. To my knowledge Community Airport Restoration Effort does not advocate the elimination of the airport. It is somewhat disingenuous for a current board member to lay the blame of citizens concerns about the airport at the doorstep of the Truckee City Hall’s greed for tax revenue and not take any responsibility themselves. Doesn’t the airport board itself receive millions in taxpayer money?There is no control tower at the small Truckee airport and it is my understanding the Federal Aviation Administration therefore has little control over take-offs and landings as well as flight corridors. The actions of the current board promote an increase in air traffic rather than air traffic dictating the actions of the board, i.e. Truckee airport’s fee structure may have more of an impact than the growth of Truckee.If nearby airports, such as Sierraville, Beckwourth’s Nervino, and Reno-Stead have made improvements, there is little need for increased growth at the Truckee airport.I would venture to say that the vast majority of visitors to Truckee never see the airport and it is not their first impression of the town. The vast majority of visitors drive in from the Bay Area or Reno and it is the small historic mountain town and the majestic environs that visitors see, not the airport. Do board members really believe that in order to have a first-rate community you need to have a large, multi-runway airport? I suggest they take a close look at Park City, Utah a thriving historic mountain town which is 32 miles from Salt Lake City. Park City does not have an airport and some how even managed to have a large part in the 2002 Winter Olympics. A first-rate community to most means an excellent quality of life with clean air, water, good schools, excellent hospitals, minimal traffic and noise as well as a sense of community. The current airport, while not large, is first-rate. In other words, the quality of the airport operation should be considered, not the number of arrivals and departures it can handle.Boards in general are tasked to represent all the individuals whom they serve, not just a small self-serving group. One need only to look at the California Medical and Dental Boards, both which have a mix of professional and lay members to serve all members of the community. Does a board consisting only of pilots, the majority of whom do not live Truckee, really represent this community?Most disconcerting of all are the comments of an airport board member who states, “I will stand by you to ensure the continued operations of our airport are maintained in a first rate manner without any restrictions whatsoever.”Where in this country can any board or elected body be void of responsibility or accountability to its constituency? Where can any business or government body not have restrictions imposed on them? The citizens of Truckee are not well served by a board that will not address the very real issues of the airport and arrogantly shrug off the concerns of the electorate.Jeffery Pucher currently lives in Los Angeles.