Apparently subscribing to the “money talks louder than logic” philosophy, the City of Indio has expressed intentions to ignore the Riverside Airport Land Use Commission’s (ALUC) determination that a hospital is an incompatible activity to be at the proposed location almost directly under the extended runway centerline less than one half-mile from the Bermuda Dunes Airport. A Public Hearing to approve an overrule of the ALUC’s determination and subsequent approval to construct a Joint Replacement Hospitals of America facility at an incompatible use location will be conducted by the Indio City Council at 5:00 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Link to Public Hearing Documents)
California law mandates each county* maintain an ALUC, each charged with evaluating the compatibility of municipal plans and development with the Airport Influence Area, a region generally contained within a 2-mile radius of each runway end. The assessment is meticulously performed by comparing the project’s physical dimensions and intended use to the standards contained in the California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook (ALUPH).
Armed with the ALUPH as their guide, the Riverside ALUC determined that placing an inpatient hospital at that specific location relative to the airport runway and approach/departure corridors is not a compatible use of the land. Nonetheless, over the course of the past 6 months, exposing their desire to see this hospital built at any cost, the Indio City Council has made multiple efforts to recast the project in any way possible, including citing that the hospital isn’t a “real hospital” because it doesn’t have an Emergency Room!
CalPilots Attorney’s have repeatedly stated that pilots are not against the construction of the facility, only that the location selected is incompatible. Regardless, the Indio City Council now proposes to “overrule” the ALUC’s decision, in essence saying, “we know it’s a bad idea but we’re going to let the construction go forward anyway.”
Pilots who utilize the Bermuda Dunes Airport should be alarmed by the municipality’s disregard for complying with established procedures. All pilots are asked to attend the Indio City Council Meeting at 5:00 pm, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, to show your concern. If Indio’s actions go without significant opposition, other cities will feel emboldened to disregard their own Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans. The General Aviation Community must stand together to assure our ability to operate in a safe airport environment is not haphazardly thrown aside.
Bring friends who are non-pilots to this meeting too. This action puts those who will be using the hospital’s services in harms way unnecessarily. Though aircraft accidents are rare, they do still happen. Opposition to this obvious disregard for established safety policy should be voiced by members of the general public who recognize the questionable wisdom of placing this activity at this site.
Indio City Council, City Hall, 100 Civic Center Mall, Indio, CA 92201
*A few California counties meet the land use planning mandate through alternate means.
Indio City Council Document: Intent to Override ALUC Decision – JRHA Project
Riverside County Airport Land Use Commission (http://www.rcaluc.org/)
California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook (455 pages, 7.2 mb pdf file) (http://dot.ca.gov/hq/planning/aeronaut/documents/alucp/AirportLandUsePlanningHandbook.pdf)