Putting community back into the airport
August 23, 2004
I am a member of CARE, Community Airport Restoration Effort. The key word here is “community.” We, the community of Truckee, need to look carefully at where the airport is and where it wishes to go in the coming years. Will we be an airport-dominated community or will the community decide the path the airport will take? When a guest columnist writes that CARE’s “goal is to take over our board,” (My Turn, “Urban legends of the Truckee Tahoe Airport,” Sierra Sun Aug. 18) we need to ask “whom do you mean by ‘our board.'” Who indeed does he mean by “they.” If CARE is successful “they” will mean the community of Truckee. When the writer states that we need “business-oriented professionals” on the board, I say we need community-minded, fair and practical people to listen to us all.I have heard the current board of directors say over and over that nothing can be done about noise, jet traffic, and anything else the community complains about. However, quoting an e-mail from the California Pilots Association Web site written by Tim LoDolce. “The published goals of CARE are to ‘decrease risk to Truckee, promote Reno (RNO) as the primary provider of visitor/business air service to the Truckee Tahoe region, and to take necessary steps to significantly reduce noise and its negative impacts on our property values, residents and visitors.’ Simply put, that means curfews, severe restrictions to jet traffic and highly curtailed training operations.” As far as I am concerned, he has stated CARE’s platform exactly. These are the very actions we have proposed over and over and we have been told we can’t do that. Evidently, the community can do exactly that, should we agree that this is best for our community. At least Truckee will be able to do something.I personally believe we have plenty of airport for the Civil Air Patrol, our recreational pilots, flying lessons, and I was once told (on a beach in South Carolina) that Truckee has the best soaring in the country. Hurrah for the beautiful gliders. The only people I have heard say that CARE wants to close the airport are the old guard at the airport. CARE members have never said they want to close the airport, and they have stated their goals publicly.Anyone in this community who has been awakened at 5:10 a.m. on a Monday morning by the scream of a jet leaving Truckee, or awakened at 12:30 a.m. by the sound of any aircraft returning to Truckee knows we need curfews. We need to come up with serious answers to the escalating jet problem. The community of Truckee can certainly listen to the concerns of local pilots with the same courtesy that the board has extended to the members of the community who have appealed to them. We the community can act upon their concerns in just as timely and productive manner as they have shown us.It is time for a change of mindset at the airport. Let the community of Truckee restore the airport to what it should be – an asset to a mountain town.Charlotte Byrne is a Truckee resident.