Truckee’s airport follies | SierraSun.com

Truckee’s airport follies

Allison Pratt Shelling

I’m not sure if it was because of my age, the high altitude or both. Maybe I had dozed off, however, and came to thinking I was watching the Truckee Follies. Sadly it was the Wednesday, July 7 Truckee meeting of the Foothill Airport Land Use Commission (FALUC).Now, if you’re one of those dear folk who always wants to read a happy tale about life in Happiville, skip the rest of this column and go to the “Sunshines: Thank you letters” on page A6, because this is a tale so sad and so dreadfully depressing you could possibly be calling your neighbors weeping. This is a tale of the demise of “life as we love it” in Truckee. If you are still reading, I am not normally a purveyor of tales of deep despair and unfortunate events. However this tale was so compelling it has to be told no matter how much anguish it will bring.Sad folly one: The FALUC, the Truckee Tahoe Airport Board and airport management decided the number of 120,000 take-offs and landings per year used to design the airport’s Compatibility Land Use Plan (CLUP) was reasonable and would remain as the number projected to be reached before 20 years. That is a plane or flying machine taking off or landing every 3.28 minutes (based on 18 hours of operation per day, 365 days per year).Sad folly two: The committee voted to redraw the CLUP zoning map so most of our public agencies may develop (as needed) to meet Truckee residents’ future needs. The agencies are allowed to build new facilities providing the buildings meet extra safety regulations. For example, heavier roofs, stronger fire sprinklers, more safety exits and have fewer windows. The airport will not be paying for this added cost to us, the local taxpayers, nor will it be accepting any greater responsibility if and when there is an accident involving one of these re-zoned agencies. Nor, of course (how could I have suggested such a thing) will the airport district be paying for the added cost of the liability insurance for our public services.Sad folly three: The committee never once considered lessening the size of the CLUP to actually be (as its name implies) compatible with its surroundings and giving preference to the 150-year-old town of Truckee. Instead, as the follies continued, the giant monster the airport has become, was ingeniously flagged forward as many of us, my dear reader, sat in the meeting once again believing we were in the “twilight zone” Truckee Follies.You will now be saying, aghast, “120,000 take off and landings per year, this sad folly cannot possibly be true.” So I advise you, do not take my depressing words for the truth; read the Airport Master Plan and CLUP document in our local library. Now you may become so horrified (if you live within 17 square miles around the airport) that I beg you not to blame me as you begin packing your bags to move to Sierraville.Instead, change this unfortunate tale by realizing our only hope for “life as we love it” in Truckee is to elect onto the Truckee Tahoe Airport Board three community oriented, collaboratively acting citizens who will move the airport into the community asset it could be.With all due respect to Lemony Snicket and the Truckee Follies.Allison Pratt Shelling is the owner of the Old Tonini House in Truckee