Read the open letter to the Stockton City Council regarding the ill advised housing project which would allow airport encroachment.
October 11, 2008
City of Stockton
425 N. El Dorado Street
Stockton, California 95202
Re: Tidewater Crossing Development
Honorable Stockton City Council Members,
I am writing to you on behalf of the board and the statewide membership of the California Pilots Association. The California Pilots Association (CALPILOTS ) is a non-profit public benefit California Corporation formed in 1949. The mission of our organization is to promote and preserve the state’s general aviation airports. We have long recognized that the state’s general aviation airports are more than irreplaceable transportation infrastructure assets. They also serve as disaster recovery centers – most recently demonstrated during the now annual wild fires across the state, and in the past during the major earthquakes. Past studies have also confirmed that our state’s airports are beneficial as regional economic engines. Stockton Metropolitan Airport is a prime example of this, and also should be considered an economic resource, no different than to the highway system serving the community.
We are writing to express our Association’s concerns regarding the proposed development known as Tidewater Crossing, specifically its planned location adjacent to the Stockton Metropolitan Airport. We are concerned that, if approved, the residential elements of the development will result in a negative impact on the Stockton Metropolitan Airport.
As an aviation organization with more than 59 years of experience, we have been involved in numerous development proposals near public use airports. Experience has shown that housing and school development in close proximity to an airport is poor public policy. Based on that experience, it is our opinion the proposed Tidewater Crossing development location has the potential to become a long term liability for the City of Stockton.
The California Department of Transportation document, The Airport Land Use Handbook (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/planning/aeronaut/htmlfile/landuse.php) should be used to guide development around airports. This guide is often overlooked, which is inopportune, because history has shown, crowding airports with homes brings controversy and huge additional costs to the municipality, often reversing any potential tax base gains. Typically, after the developer has made his money, the municipality is left trying to resolve costly noise and safety issues which did not have to occur. Chapter 1, page 1-1 of the Airport Land Use Handbook specifically states:
“It is the purpose of this article to protect public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring the orderly expansion of airports and the adoption of land use that minimize the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards around public airports to the extent that these areas are not already devoted to inconsistent uses”.
We have read the Mead & Hunt study and concur with their conclusions. We would, however, be remiss if we did not point out that while the Aviation Easement (AE), ‘Overflight’ and ‘Real Estate Disclosure’ are all important strategies used to protect airports, experience has shown that they have little effect in stopping noise and safety complaints over the long term. The fact is the inevitable noise and safety complaints which arise from housing encroachment of airports can cost the municipality millions of dollars dealing with these issues.
It is obvious that the location of the Tidewater Crossing Development, if approved as proposed, will become a long term problem for the Stockton Airport, and subsequently, the City of Stockton. Existing air traffic patterns and instrument approach procedures would take aircraft, some of them large aircraft, over homes at a low altitude.
In 2006, the County Board of Supervisors received definitive proof of this problem when it heard from the Airport Managers from Livermore and Oakland when they reviewed this development. We strongly suggest that you confirm this testimony before moving forward.
To prevent future costly airport noise and safety issues, the California Pilots Association urges the City Council to consider the Mead & Hunt study, as well as the past testimony from the Livermore and Oakland Airport Managers in your decision, and then reject the Tidewater Crossings Development location as proposed.
The California Pilots Association stands ready to assist the Council make an informative decision which will benefit the entire community long term. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
President – California Pilots Association
cc: – Gary Cathy – Division of Aeronautics, Acting Chief
– John Pfiefer – AOPA
– Rick Tutt – ALUC Plan Update Planning Advisory Committee
– Jim MacKnight VP Region 2 CALPILOTS
Unfortunately the Stockton City Council approved the ill advised Tidewater Crossing Development adjacent the Stockton Airport. To read the article click here. It is appropriate to document the names of the council members and who voted for and against it, because in the future we will be able to point directly to those council members when the City of Stockton starts to experience the forewarned airport safety and noise issues along with their associated costs. See other articles on Tidewater on this web site.