City of Watsonville – General Plan Meeting 1/18/12

The next and final public hearing by the City of Watsonville on it General Plan update will be Wednesday January 18th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the City Hall.  The General Plan will profoundly affect KWVI’s future.

The two previous public hearings at the Armory and City Hall demonstrated that airport land use planning was consistent with the “understanding” between WPA and the city planning department. If the General Plan update continues to reflect the understanding, there should be no further squabble—on airport land use planning.

The understanding provides that, in Buena Vista , there should be no future development in runway safety zones. The California State Land Use Planning Handbook says, “Maintain current zoning, if less than density criteria for suburban setting.” The current zoning is primarily Agricultural for zones 1 through 5. The City seems to be listening to their hired airport land use planning consultants. The County plans to adopt the consultant’s plan which includes WPA input. You may have read in the papers that WPA has filed a “Stipulation” reserving the right to litigate, if necessary, over zone sizes. Zone sizes are influenced by runway classification, medium vs short General Aviation runway.

In the Freedom area approach to runway 26, because of existing development, small size zones are part of the understanding.

In zone 6 (which surrounds the airport) the proposed General Plan contains 1300 homes in Buena Vista However, at the last public hearing, Bert Post, a member of The Friends of Buena Vista, pointed out to the City that the courts required a reduced housing alternative. That’s not the maximum 1300 planned (the total left after compliance with airport land use planning). So what would be a reduced alternative, 650 homes (a 50% reduction)? Or would is be 1299 homes (a .0076% reduction)? So the City still has some loose ends.

Looking back, in 2011, the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics completed updating of the Handbook, and issued the October 2011 edition. There is a lot of rewriting and organizational change. Of special note is page 3-20 which deals with “Adjusting Generic Safety Zone to Individual Airports.” That’s particularly pertinent to KWVI, as it is indicating larger zones are warranted.

Airport supporters should be commended on their attendance at the Armory public hearing on November 9th. It indicates that we are vigilant when it comes to maintaining a safe and fully functional airport.

The best way to get there is to enter the parking garage from Rodriquez Street and park on Level 6 (the top).

dchauvetDan Chauvet
147 Mesa Verde Dr
Watsonville, Ca 95076