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Town sues airport

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

The Town of Truckee filed suit March 29 against the Truckee-Tahoe Airport District alleging that the district improperly and unlawfully approved a negative declaration in support of the airport’s master plan.

“To clear up any misunderstandings or misconceptions, the Town of Truckee has not adopted any position or made any statements signifying that the town desires to limit operations at the airport,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook wrote Feb. 23 to the district’s general manager. “In fact, the Town General Plan has strong policies supporting the continued use and operation of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport as a general purpose airport.”

Lashbrook’s letter went on to ask the airport district board to consider the town’s comments concerning the Airport Master Plan Negative Declaration and to recirculate a revised Negative Declaration for further public review.

The airport district board did not revise the Negative Declaration as requested by the town and adopted the one in question and the Airport Master Plan on Feb. 24. The airport district Feb. 29 filed a notice of determination to carry out the project as adopted.

“The town council and the airport board were in discussion about the impact of the airport Master Plan on the town’s general plan,” Town Attorney J. Dennis Crabb said. “The airport district didn’t respond adequately to the issues of the negative declaration.”

The town requested from the airport district an extension of the California Environmental Quality Act’s 30-day limit to file a complaint in opposition to the adopted documents, Crabb said, and the airport district denied the request.

The town was forced to either file suit within the 30-day CEQA-required time limit or waive its right to further oppose airport actions regarding the Airport Master Plan and its related Negative Declaration, Crabb said.

A letter drafted by the town attorney was sent April 4 to the airport district’s attorney, Crabb said, requesting a stay stipulation.

A stay stipulation, if accepted by the airport district board, would place litigation on hold for a 180-day period, during which time other means of resolution would be sought.

“With a stay stipulation, the parties agree there may be an opportunity to resolve the issue in another manner,” Crabb said.

At press time, the airport district attorney had not yet received the town’s request for a stay stipulation.

“It would be premature for me to respond to the action at this time,” Truckee-Tahoe Airport District General Manager Peter Soderquist said. “I can say the district will take every action to defend this facility.”


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