Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Airport homes not a good idea Our view: Redlands council ignores problems posed by building so close to runways.
The San Bernardino (CA) Sun
Why anybody would want to live adjacent to an airport, unless they really had to, is a question that seems to have eluded the proponents of an 81-home development a mere 2,000 feet from the Redlands Municipal Airport. Against impassioned protests from airport officials, warnings by a number of experts regarding the negative impact of such an encroachment and better jugdment the Redlands City Council has decided to go ahead with the controversial project by developer Everett Hughes. Mayor Jon Harrison and Councilman Mick Gallagher both voiced their concerns but were overridden by the rest of the City Council,which last month approved the Walton homes near the southwest corner of the airport.
We remain skeptical, however, that the homes, to be built between San Bernardino and Pioneer avenues, is the best fit for Redlands, its airport or the residents who will have to contend with the noise and traffic of planes and helicopters flying overhead.
An initial report by the consulting firm Coffman and Associates suggested that the airport’s helipad be moved to the airport’s southeast corner to mitigate some of the noise. But the $500,000 to $1 million cost of such a task is not being asked of the developer, Everett Hughes, and so, no doubt, would be borne by Redlands taxpayers. A retired airline pilot has warned against moving the helipad, since helicopter and plane patterns would cross precipitously.
The pending closure of Rialto Municipal Airport also is likely to impact Redlands’ general-aviation airport, which could become home to many of Rialto’s 225-plus small aircraft.
As space becomes limited in Redlands and surrounding communities, the need for well-planned and well-executed development becomes ever more essential to the city’s continued economic viability and future success.
But that shouldn’t mean putting prospective homewoners directly in the path of noisy planes. Redlands needs to take that into account when deciding whether prospective expansion is worth putting 81 families within earshot of the buzz and roar that promise to get old in a hurry.
Editor’s Note: Often the voice of reason is ignored until it is too late. We applaud Mayor Jon Harrison and Councilman Mick Gallagher courage and ask that they continue to do the right thing for their community.