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Bad airport planning could create future headaches

Guest Column by Lynne R. Larson, Truckee resident

I attended the barely noticed workshop to discuss the proposed updated Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (CLUP) held Wednesday August 27 at Truckee Town Hall.

It is important to note who attended this workshop. The attendees were: the Airport Staff, Town of Truckee Staff, a staff member from the Airport Land use Commission (AKA, Sierra Economic Development District; AKA, the Sierra Planning Organization), developer interests, the CLUP consultants, newspaper reporters, an attorney with developer interests, an airport board member and about six “residents.”

Where were the rest of the residents who are, and will continue to be, significantly impacted by the airport land use? Most likely those who might care didn’t know about the workshop and were at the free Wednesday night concert at the park where I wanted to be.

I came away from the “workshop” feeling that we as a community are about to get the shaft again. The only segment of the community that really benefits from the CLUP are the developers and the airport. In fact, an airport board member who attended the workshop shop said if people don’t the like airport they should move to Sierraville. What kind of attitude is that?

The purpose of the CLUP among other things is to “protect public health, safety and welfare”. The Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC), the outfit responsible for overseeing the CLUP, has a serious conflict of interest.

These are the same folks responsible for encouraging economic development in four counties. The ALUC along with help from the airport staff has designed a plan that is a compromise with the airport and the developers. Nobody is protecting the community. Once again, the fox is guarding the henhouse.

The writers of this plan would like us to believe that the plan is good for the community. Here is why it is isn’t:

Shrinking noise contours: The airport would like us to believe that shrinking contours will mean less aircraft noise.

The reduction in noisy jets that are projected to be built over the next 20 years supposedly

will reduce noise in our community. What about the increase of personal aircraft that are still using and will continue to use technology developed in the ’50s?

By shrinking the contours, developers can build stuff like multi-family affordable housing closer to the airport, a good use of the land

because nobody else wants to live there and “those folks” cannot afford to live anywhere else. Comments like “The ambient noise levels in multi-family housing is higher generally” means it is OK put their homes nearer to the airport.

Shrinking contours are lines on a map. They are not reality. You can shrink all the contours you want, but pilots are still going to go where they darn well please because they can and the noise over our community will continue to increase to unhealthy levels.

Total operations (take-offs and landings) are projected to increase up to 120,000 operations per year in the future, with 17,000 of those jet aircraft. Five years ago the airport reported jet operations of only 1,000 per year.

Who can believe that aircraft noise will be reduced in the future? Those folks must really think we are stupid out here. The new fancy housing developments will also be significantly impacted by aircraft noise. The developers, however, have to “disclose” the airport. But nobody knows what it is really like until they move in and then it is too late. The airport is protected by “easements” which only benefit the airport, not the community.

Expanding Airport Sphere of Influence: The plan shows the expansion of the airport sphere of influence.

What does that mean for us?

It means that if a person in the airport sphere of influence wants to sell their home, for instance, he cannot sue the airport because the property has lost value due to airport operations. If you think you will not be affected, think again.

Increased air traffic: Who benefits from this? Does this bring more cash into the community, or do the riders on these mechanized wonders go somewhere else once they have landed?

The airport needs to commission another unbiased economic study since the last one, if you look at the fine print, certainly showed the airport as drain on our resources.

If you are interested in the plan try to find a copy, and if wish to attend the next meeting to discuss the plan, contact Betty Riley at 823-4703.

It is your community and your future.


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