The Watsonville Pilots Association (WPA), among others, is involved in a legal action against the City of Watsonville over the update of Watsonville?s General Plan 2030, and the flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) associated with it. The General Plan update allows real estate development encroachment in runway safety zones at the Watsonville Airport (WVI). There is a lot at stake in this legal action. First is the viability of WVI, second, is California ?s airport protection mechanism. The EIR linked to the City?s General Plan update ignores the inevitable noise and safety issues associated with development planning off the ends of the runways. It disregards the problems caused by such developments; and discounts the problems with building high occupancy dwellings, such as schools, assisted living care facilities, and sports fields under aircraft arrival and departure paths in airport zones.
|Imagine California?s airport protection process as a four-legged stool. The first leg of is the state law (P.U.C. Sec. 21670) requiring airport land use planning. The second leg is the California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook (January 2002).|
The third leg is the local airport Compatibility Plan, which applies the law to a local airport, with specific planning criteria as described in the Handbook?s Chapter 2. The fourth leg is an Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) which applies the Compatibility Plan for making decisions on planned development around an airport.
In the early 1990?s Watsonville?s elected officials circumvented the formation of an ALUC, and managed to acquire a Santa Cruz County exemption. In 1996 the City rejected a Comprehensive Land Use Compatibility Plan (CLUP), and in 2002 it rejected the Compatibility Plan. The city hired Airport Master Plan consultants included airport land use planning to try to substitute for a Compatibility Plan. The Council approved the Master Plan in July 2004. Nine months later city staff convinced the city council to remove airport land use planning from the Master Plan. Therefore, at Watsonville two legs of airport protection process have been sidestepped. Instead, airport land use planning has become–developer land use planning. At stake in this important legal action is WVI viability, plus the validity of the state?s airport protection system.
This legal action needs our financial support. You can support WVI and the state?s airport protection process by sending a check made out to ?WPA? (in the memo section write ?legal fund?).
Please send it to:
137 Falmouth Ct.
Aptos, CA 95003
If you have already contributed, many thanks.
Dan Chauvet, WPA
Editor?s Note: This is a serious problem which requires our attention and financial support. Please contribute whatever you can, this may affect all of us. For more inofrmation please go to the WPA web site.
The Watsonville Pilots Association is a Chapter of the California Pilots Assoication.