Watsonville – Runway Closure Letter to Mayor and Council-

August 19, 2004
Mayor Judy Doering-Nielsen and Council Members
City of Watsonville
P.O. Box 5000
Watsonville, CA 95077-5000

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

The California Pilots Association assists cities, counties and special districts in preserving their public airports, such as the Watsonville Airport. Watsonville Airport is an integral part of the overall transportation system. It is included by the Federal Aviation Administration in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. The airport is Watsonville’s off-ramp and on-ramp to the nation’s aerial highway system. As the local area’s population increases and automobile congestion makes ground travel more difficult, the airport will become increasingly important as a part of the regional transportation system.

Any closure or shortening of runways would limit usefulness of the airport for current and future users; it would have an economic impact because it would limit the current and increasing use of the airport by aircraft for business purposes.

Aside from indirect benefits of the airport as a transportation facility, it is a source of direct funds in the form of grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has provided and continues to provide grants to maintain and enhance the airport. This is a direct infusion of millions of dollars into the local economy.

In consideration of these FAA funding grants, your Council has pledged to comply with certain airport protective provisions. That includes the pledge to preserve and enhance the airport through compatible land use planning around the airport. Safety and aircraft noise interference are the main compatibility factors that must be considered in this planning process.

In summary, your Council is duty bound to maintain the airport in its present non-diminished operational configuration, and to maintain compatible land uses around the airport.

Please consider our Association as a resource for this and other airport issues.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this very important issue.

Yours truly,

Jay C. White