Elk Grove Airport Association Organizes to Protect its Airport

The Elk Grove Airport (E-27) is another in the series of California airports under attack by developers. This airport is unique because it is a privately owned, public use airport. Making the scenario even more difficult, the owner a retired airline pilot, now attorney lives in Oregon. It is the same old story. Slowly the airport has been encroached by housing with the exception of its east boundary which is public land.

The airport is actually in Sacramento County and across the street from the City of Elk Grove boundary. The county did a master plan document in the mid 90?s; likely with FAA grant funds. The latest use permit was reissued for only two years by the county and is good until June 2007. However a developer (the Pappas group) has managed to schedule an agenda item with the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors January 11, 2006, for the purpose of canceling the use permit and thus closing the airport. The motivation is that the developer has developable land in Elk Grove across the street from the airport, in the airport area of influence, at the end of the runway nearest Elk Grove Unfortunately, two Elk Grove city council members are known to be negative toward the airport, and must be dealt with immediately (sound familiar?…Editor).

The Elk Grove Airport Association has made numerous attempts to deal with the issues they now face, but they haven?t been as successful as they had hoped. John Hockenbury, long time airport tenant, who also has a flight photography business on the airport, contacted the California Pilots Association (CalPilots) for some help.

Two members of CalPilots met with the group on Tuesday evening, November 29th. George Loegering, CalPilots VP-Region 1, led the discussion on a strategy to combat the airports issues. The first point of order established was that the problem is a local one, and therefore requires a commitment by the local pilots to resolve. Since over two thirds of the 60-70 airport users were in attendance, we feel they are off to a great start. Additionally, two members of CalTrans Bureau of Aeronautics were in attendance to learn about the issues. They were very supportive and agreed to attend the January 11th meeting to testify to the airport?s safety. Safety is an issue which the developer is using inappropriately to get the airport user permit revoked.

Working together, we laid out several ideas for the airport group to implement and they are off and running. CalPilots will be there to guide and assist as required. Stay tuned.

For more information, go to the Elk Grove Airport Association web site.

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