San Carlos Airport: Planes Won?t Fly Over Belmont

Planes From San Carlos Airport Won?t Fly Over Belmont

San Mateo Daily Journal, CA Quelling fears that the Bay Meadows project could send planes over a Belmont community, airport officials say the possibility is a near impossibility.

San Carlos Airport Manager Mark Larson said there are no plans to re-direct the planes that fly over the Bay Meadows race track, where a massive transit-oriented development is planned. Although developers always ask for such measures when planning a new project, Larson said it is highly unlikely the change will occur.

The flight patterns are established and haven?t changed for more than 20 years, he said. On top of that, Larson said it is the airport?s policy not to shake up noise routes. ?People buy homes based on the disclosures they?re willing to accept,? he said.

There are more than 170,000 departures and landings at the San Carlos Airport every year.

Belmont Planning Commissioner Bill Dickenson said he clearly remembers being told by Larson about a possible re-direction of flights over his Sterling Down neighborhood, however. Larson said it may have been a matter of miscommunication.

For the past several years, developers have been planning a massive transit corridor at the Bay Meadows race track to create 2.1 million square feet of offices, 1,500 residential units, 100,000 square feet of retail uses and 15 acres of open space.

The heights being proposed for the Bay Meadows development ? the highest being around 75 feet ? are hardly enough to send planes in another direction, said San Mateo City Councilmember Jack Matthews, who is also on the citizens? advisory group shaping the vision for the project.

San Mateo?s current building height limitations are 55 feet unless developers provide public amenities like landscaping and park benches. The limitation is up for voter renewal in 2005. City officials have talked of increasing the limitations to accommodate plans for transit corridors like the Bay Meadows project.

Larson said it is extremely unlikely that any buildings will go up in the area that would require a possible re-direction of flights. Project planners will have to accept that flights have been buzzing over the area for decades, he said.

?Those homes that are going to be built will be directly under a long-established air space,? Larson said. ?There are airplanes flying over virtually everywhere in the Bay Area. It?s just one of the givens in this area.?

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