Open letter to Governor Brown regarding Airport Land Use Commission’s and their importance to California’s airports. Read why they should not be eliminated.
March 28, 2012
Governor Edmund G. Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Elimination of Airport Land Use Commission/Plans (CSM-4507)
The California Pilots Association a statewide non-profit volunteer airport/aviator advocate organization founded in 1949 has recently discovered the proposed California Department of Finance action adding the Airport Land Use Commission/Plans (CSM-4507) to a budget reduction act, thereby eliminating this critical function.
Frankly, we are concerned that some arbitrary process may have led to the inclusion of ALUC’s into this budget reduction Act. Whatever the reason is, it is a mistake.
The Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC’s) function was specifically created to maintain safety and eliminate noise issues for communities with airports. To quote the Division of Aeronautics 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”
While we recognize the budgetary issues facing the state, the proposed elimination of the ALUC’s is surprising, because the developer seeking approval, not the general fund, supports ALUC actions. We would question any large ALUC claims and suggest that any be audited closely. This begs the question, why is the ALUC function included in a budget reduction process?
It is also important to point out that, according to our information, the state collects $400+ million in aviation specific taxes annually; yet – the state returns less than 2% to aviation related expenses or operations. The remainder is allocated as follows: by law 72% to the local municipality/schools, and 26% deposited into the General Fund. Surely any ALUC expenses can be funded out of the very revenue generated by aviation.
Further, excluding Los Angeles and San Diego from this Act substantiates the value and importance of ALUC’s. It is our position that all 246 public access airports in California are important. We question why Los Angeles and San Diego are excluded.
Over the years, we have witnessed many of the state’s airports closed due to encroachment, usually a result of airport sponsor’s inappropriate development decisions. There are numerous examples of state airports now threatened with closure due to encroachment; Santa Monica Airport is but one recent high visibility example.
ALUC’s are airports’ first line of defense against inappropriate development. When authoritatively involved, they can save airport sponsors time and money from probable legal and community actions.
The state’s ALUC’s are also critical in slowing the growing trend of developer influence on incompatible development around airports.
We would like to point out that all of our state airports are economic engines, generating revenue and jobs, both important to the state’s economy. Our airports are also significant components in the state’s transportation infrastructure, not to mention their ability to provide emergency medical access and firefighting capabilities.
In closing it is important to note that aviation more than pays its own way in the state. On behalf of California’s 60,000 active pilots, and the California Pilots Association Board, we cannot stress enough that our ALUC’s are a critical part of airport sustainability. We are firmly against the elimination of and/or modification of the ALUC as it currently functions. We stand ready to take appropriate steps and actions with other aviation organizations to insure their continued operation.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance in this important decision.
President – California Pilots Association
Ana J. Matosantos – Director of Finance – California Department of Finance
Gary Cathey – Chief Division of Aeronautics
Craig Fuller – CEO – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Ed Bolen – CEO – National Business Aviation Association
Rod Hightower – President – Experimental Aircraft Association
Michael Huerta – Acting Head – Federal Aviation Association
California Pilots Association Board