State Airport Land Use Commission Function's Threatened

ALERT – The Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC’s) function, specifically created to maintain safety and eliminate noise issues for communities with airports, is now in jeopardy due to the State Department of Finance irresponsible and myopic view of their importance.

We are carefully monitoring the state’s actions regarding some pending budget trimming actives that currently include our Airport Land Use Commission’s. What is an “Airport Land Use Commission and Why Is It Important to You?” This is important to you, so please read on.

To quote the California Division of Aeronautics (DoA) California Airport Land Use Handbook “ALUCs protect public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring the orderly expansion of airports and the adoption of land use measures that minimize the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards within areas around public airports to the extent that these areas are not already devoted to incompatible uses”

Over the years, we have witnessed many of the state’s airports closed due to encroachment, usually a result of an (city or county) airport sponsor’s inappropriate development decisions.

There are numerous examples of state airports being encroached, and now threatened with, or on a collision path with closure; Santa Monica Airport, the “poster child of lack of planning” is but one recent example.

The growing influence that developers have been able to affect on incompatible development around our airports remains a key concern. Although it isn’t appropriate to completely blame developers, since many municipalities no longer think long term; and to be fair, have major economic issues caused by the lack a sound state budget process. Our ALUC’s are critical to slowing this trend, and we need them more than ever.

ALUC’s are our airports first line of encroachment defense, and when actively involved, can save airport sponsors time and money from possible legal and community actions. That is, if the airport sponsor follows the land development process, as established by DoA.

Why worry? Airports are more than a place to park aircraft. They are a significant part of the state’s transportation infrastructure, emergency medical access, and fire fighting capabilities.

Airports are also state economic engines generating local jobs and revenue, both important to the economy.

In our opinion the state has consistently ignored, instead of acknowledged, that aviation more than pays its own way. All one has to do is to review the aviation tax revenue allocation.

Out of the $400+ million in annual aviation taxes collected, the state returns less than 2% to aviation. The reminder is allocated as follows: by law 72% to the local municipality/schools, with another 26% banked into the General Fund.

Even if our ALUC’s do incur some cost, it is minuscule when compared to the taxes generated by aviation in our state. Surely the state can afford these costs considering the huge amount of revenue it receives due to aviation.

As this issue unfolds we may need to ask each and every one of you to call and/or write our state officials to protest this ill advised penny-wise and dollar foolish state Department of Finance effort. Please stay tuned – keep checking our web site for updated information.

Meanwhile, why not educate yourself? Visit the Division of Aeronautics web site and download the 2012 California Airport Land Use Handbook. You’ll find the handbook in PDF form on their home page under Specialty Areas – right side of the page