San Diego – Airport Compatibility Study Seeks Public's Opinions

What should and should not be permitted in the area surrounding San Diego International Airport and beneath its flight path? That is one of the questions the San Diego Regional Airport Authority will be trying to answer over the next two years as it completes the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP).

If a master plan looks at development inside the airport’s property, the compatibility plan will be looking at development around the airport. And up in the air.

As Keith Wilschetz, director of airport planning, explained during a briefing Thursday to kick off the two year project, the compatibility plan looks at the ground around the airport, property within the footprint made by airport noise and the airspace above it.

The airport uses the final plan as a tool to encourage compatible development around the airport, explained Wilschetz. Although, the plan’s constraints can be over-ridden by two-thirds votes from city councils, boards of supervisors and other government agencies.

The airport’s “sphere of influence” could easily extend a few miles to the east, into El Cajon or La Mesa and out into the Pacific to the West, said Wilschetz. “It isn’t really a perfectly formed oval,” he added.

Such a plan would make it difficult to build something, a parking garage for example or a business tower, up against the federally mandated flight path ceiling. At the least, the plan would make it easier to debate publicly.

The plan “will play an important role in ensuring that future development in the vicinity of SDIA will be compatible, safe, and consistent with our goals of sustaining and enhancing the regional economy,” said Robert H. Gleason,
Airport Authority Board chairman.

Land Use Compatibility Plans have been developed for 13 other airports in the county.

The Airport Land Use Commission, which is actually the Airport Authority Board, is seeking public involvement in the process.

As a kick-off to the study, a public workshop is set for Jan. 25, 5-8 p.m., at the Courtyard by Marriot hotel, at 2592 Lansing Road in Liberty Station. Airport planners plan to explain in detail the process involved in coming up
with a compatibility plan.

According to Wilschetz, planners will then hold monthly public sessions, each focused on a specific aspect of the study throughout the rest of the year. In 2012, the compatibility plan will move into the environmental research phase with a draft plan ready for adoption by the end of that year.

More information on the Land Use Compatibility Plan is available online at