Elk Grove Airport (Sunset Skyranch) Use Permit Revoked

Open letter to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors after their decision to revoke the Elk Grove Airport Use Permit. Read the full letter below. January 30, 2005

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Roger Dickinson – District 1
Illa Collin – District 2
Susan Peters – District 3
Roberta MacGlashan – District 4
Don Notolli – District 5

700 H Street, Suite 2450
Sacramento CA 95814


Subject: Elk Grove Airport (Sunset Skyranch) Use Permit

Honorable Sacramento County Board of Supervisors:

The California Pilots Association (CalPilots) is a statewide non-profit, volunteer, aviation advocate organization. Our goal, since 1946, has been to promote and protect one of California?s most important transportation infrastructure assets, its airports. Our organization and its statewide membership stand committed to that goal.

We are writing to express our association’s concerns regarding the loss of Elk Grove Airport’s use permit. We want to insure that as a group of powerful decision makers, you fully recognize the importance of the airport to the community of Elk Grove. We are also concerned that as a board, you may not fully understand the important role airports play as part of California?s transportation infrastructure. Revoking Elk Grove Airport?s use permit is tantamount to eliminating Elk Grove’s on and off ramps from highways 99 and 5. In taking this action, you are stripping this community of an important resource which provides commerce, along with emergency, and other transportation services.

We are aware that as a board, you sided with a developer who stated that Elk Grove Airport was a safety hazard. Since Elk Grove?s Airport was inspected every year by Caltrans? Bureau of Aeronautics, with no major issues reported, how was this charge substantiated? This is especially puzzling since it was made by a land developer, who has no experience regarding airport safety. Further, since developers are in business to produce a profit, it is obvious to our association what motivated the developer in this case. Of course, we do not believe that a developer?s profit came before a community?s welfare, but we would like to understand the process here. Our experience with similar disputes has shown that once the developer has made his money and moved on, the community is left trying to resolve the remaining issues. In this case, it is the loss of a non-replaceable asset, its airport. This is very troubling to us, and begs the question what in fact is the relationship between the board and this developer? How was this decision reached, and why?

As quoted by KXTV-TV Ch 10 (ABC), Sacramento (CA), Supervisor Roger Dickinson said “There has been plenty of time to recognize that this use might not continue”. We are interested in how long this issue has been being reviewed, and exactly when did this developer contact the board regarding this issue? Also, what opportunity and timeframe was the Elk Grove Airport Association given to respond, in comparison to when the developer started to make suspicious safety claims against this airport?

As you are aware, the California Department of Transportation document, The Airport Land Use Handbook (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/planning/aeronaut/htmlfile/landuse.php) should be used to guide development around airports. Unfortunately, this guide is often overlooked when development around airports is considered, which is regrettable, because history has shown, encroachment of airports with homes typically brings controversy and additional costs to the community. This wouldn?t be the first time that a developer tried to discredit an airport, so he could seize more land to increase his profit. As a board you are in the position to insure that a fair decision is made, and our association would like to insure that this due-diligence did in fact take place. Certainly an airport of 33 years deserves more then a cavalier ?so what? attitude such as it has been shown by the board.

CalPilots stands with the Elk Grove Airport Association concerning this ill conceived move on the part of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. We believe the revocation of the Elk Grove airport use permit should be revisited. A comprehensive EIR should analyze the impacts of alternatives that are compatible with the airport which would benefit all concerned. A developers profit should not be part of the equation.

Thank you for your consideration of CalPilot’s comments on this issue. If we can be of further assistance at this time, please contact us at 800-319-5285.


Ed Rosiak
California Pilots Association


Elk Grove Airport Association
Ms. Mary Frederick, Chief, California Division of Aeronautics
Mr. John Pfeifer, AOPA California Regional Representative
KXTV-TV Ch 10, Sacramento, CA.
Sacramento Bee

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