Vacaville City Planner Pushes Development too Close to Airport

Safety first? Not here
Airline pilots, corporate pilots, general aviation pilots, air traffic controllers and concerned residents packed the Vacaville Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday evening at Vacavile City Hall.

Anyone who saw this meeting on TV could see how rudely the chair treated us as taxpayers and citizens. One would think that that this commission would use its common sense and interest in safety as its first measure to decide if a project might be acceptable to the City Council.

You would think that, after the Solano Airport Land Use Commission voted 4 to 2 against placing homes near the runway, that this commission would be interested to hear from pilots who use this airport every day.

The chair repeatedly told us that we were not to speak about the building of 280 homes near the runway and related safety issues. It simply wasn’t relevant to the minor amendments that the developers and city planner were supporting and asking for.

Best I could understand, as a country-boy lawyer, was that this issue was decided in 2002, using outdated documents and it was far too late for common sense.

None of us want this fight, but here we are. We are not a bunch of dumb pilots or children. I guess we are in good company along with the State of California’s senior aviation expert, who agrees with us. Vacaville deserves better.

It was heartening to hear from a Vacaville elected official that they were ashamed of the way we were treated and were voting no on the commission’s recommendation.

We believe we will get better treatment when all of us attend the next City Council meeting, when the issue of houses near Nut Tree’s runway comes up for a vote. We invite all who care about children who might have to sleep 750 feet from a runway to attend and speak out.

Thomas S. Bucci
Vacaville, CA.

To read the original article click here.

Editor’s Note: There were some inaccurate depictions in the local newspaper. This article is somewhat misleading in that it mentions a city council meeting, when in fact a city planner seems to be driving for approval of this mis-guided development.

The following observations were made by CALPILOTS board members at the meetings to date:

  • The Chairman was very hospitable and did not cut us off as is often done at such meetings.
  • All of the Planning Commissioners were most attentive, and spoke to our concerns when Public Input was closed.
  • The Agenda listed ~ 5 areas that could be voted on, The appropriateness of Residential Housing near the runway was Not on the approved voting item list. The chair made this clear at the outset, but still allowed us to discuss housing and Safety.
  • It is believed that the City Planning Staff crafted the Agenda, excluding housing zoning, to fit his desired outcome.
  • Planning Staff kept insisting that the old/outdated (lenient) 1988 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) must be followed, but had no trouble using an updated 2002 Noise Study to justify allowing Homes to butt up against (paralleling) the most favorable 60 dB Aircraft Noise (CNEL) Contour they could fabricate.
  • Planning Staff briefly mentioned that the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) voted by a Simple Majority to oppose the updated Zoning Plan that was being proposed, while failing to reach a Super Majority In-Compatible “Determination”.
  • a) An outside Aviation Planning Contractor was hired by the City to make a Compatible “Determination”, using the outdated CLUP, as if the Simple Majority of the ALUC had no meaning.
  • b) After I challenged the Planner, he then Asserted that He Himself reached a Favorable Determination when using the outdated CLUP.
  • c) The City Planner further stated that he personally determined that the Proposed Zoning changes actually meet the current CalTrans Planning Handbook guidelines (which they Do Not!). He asserted this several times.
  • Some minor changes were required by the Planning Commission, but limiting Land Uses in favor of Public Safety was not among them. For the most part, the commissioners sided with the Staff Recommendations.
  • The Planning Staff had some Illustrations, mostly based on Noise Contours, to make his point.
  • CALPILOTS is trying to get a formal spot for a Presentation on the Agenda when it comes before the City council.

Bill Sanders –
CALPILOTS Director-at-Large

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