Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Buchanan airport to stay put
By Ryan Huff
THE CONTRA COSTA (CA) TIMES
A developer has grounded his plan to move Buchanan Field. Shapell Industries has called off its ambitious proposal to build 6,000 homes on the Concord airport site and move the runways to another Central County location, said Contra Costa Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier. The idea had always been a long shot because it didn’t have the support of the FAA or the private pilots who use the six-decade-old airport.
After two replacement sites near Martinez weren’t feasible, Shapell tried to line up support for a new airport between Highway 4 and the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. But its numerous hills would have made construction costly and pilots had concerns about that area’s fog and remote location.
In a letter to the county today, Shapell wrote that it simply couldn’t find a suitable Central County location.
“The sites that we have located are either not for sale, have been deemed undesirable by the local pilots or have other constraints that seem politically insurmountable at this time,” said company President J.C. Truebridge.
With a September deadline looming to present a suitable plan to county supervisors, Shapell decided to scrap the plan, said DeSaulnier, who first proposed the idea of moving Buchanan in 2003.
Shapell will reimburse the county for any staff time spent on the project.
“As I recommended to the board, I think it was worth looking into if we didn’t spend taxpayer money,” DeSaulnier said. “I think now the board needs to get back to being re-energized about the existing airport and making it as good as it can be.”
Editor’s Note: There were unanswered questions regarding Contra Costa Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier’s relationship with Shapell Industries regarding this ill conceived plan.