At a recent Action Pajaro Valley meeting, the Watsonville City Manager stated that certain pilots had expressed their willingness to participate in a ?stakeholder committee? to develop a Watsonville Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan. He failed however, to identify them. He further stated that without the cooperation of the pilot organizations he could not proceed. The pilot community, represented by the Watsonville Pilots Association, EAA Chapter 119, and the Monterey Bay Chapter of the 99’s presented a common front in opposition to the City Manager?s proposal after determining that the stakeholder committee would be set up weighted with a bias for the city’s plan.
At a recent Watsonville City Council meeting the pilot community requested that the Council delay any action on the stakeholder committee proposal until after litigation is completed. The Council agreed, on a 4-2 vote.
At the City Council meeting, I took issue with the idea of a special committee to create an Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan. We require a Compatibility Plan that protects the airport?not one that allows development off the end of runways.
At another Action Pajaro Valley meeting the City Development Director stated that any Compatibility Plan developed by the pilot community would be unacceptable. He likely was referring to:
(1) the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) developed in 1996 by the Watsonville Airport Advisory Committee (which the City rejected),
(2) the Compatibility Plan produced by the WPA in 2002 (not adopted by the City),
(3) the Airport Manager?s and city consultants airport land use planning put into the Airport Master Plan (removed 9 months later), and
(4) any such future plan.
In other words, the City Development Director wants a Compatibility Plan to reflect the monetary goals for development as envisioned by himself and the City Manager. The impasse is obvious. The State Division of Aeronautics and/or Court action can only resolve it.
Since then the California Pilot Association Chief Counsel, Jay White, and a State Division of Aeronautics land use planning expert, have voiced the opinion that a ?stakeholder committee? is an inappropriate mechanism to develop an objective, and legitimate Land Use Compatibility Plan.
The continued vigilance and solidarity of the pilot community is imperative and necessary, if responsible airport land use planning is to occur around WVI. To date we have achieved that solidarity, which includes people from Oregon, around California, and Arizona, who have put their money where their values are.
Contributions are still needed. To help, please send your contribution to the legal fund at the address below:
Watsonville Pilots Association
P.O. Box 2074
Freedom, CA 95019-2074.
Checks can be made out to “WPA” and note in the memo section “legal fund.”
Dan Chauvet, WPA
Editor?s Note: This is a serious problem which requires all of our attention and financial support. Please contribute whatever you can, this may affect all of us. For more information please go to the WPA web site.
The Watsonville Pilots Association is a Chapter of the California Pilots Association.