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"Airport Land Use: Leaders need to defend airport"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 01:52:43 -0500
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Leaders need to defend airport
By Gary Weidman
The San Diego (CA) North County Times
Friday last, I cruised into Stew's at Rancho California and Margarita for a
trim and some conversation. As I entered, a pretty lady guided me to her
chair and the trim and talk began.
She asked what I was planning to do for the weekend. I said I intended to
make a day of it at the Hemet-Ryan Air Show. I just love airplanes and, by
the way, I am a pilot.
She said that she lives across the street from French Valley Airport and
that when she bought her home several years ago there were only a few
airplanes buzzing around the airport. Now, it has gotten very busy and there
are even jets flying in an out.
I agreed the airport has gotten very busy. The runway was recently extended
to the south and there are plans to install a control tower.
I noted there is a local flap about a land-use problem to the south of the
runway. A developer, Silverhawk Land & Acquisitions of Costa Mesa, wants to
build a retail center and other large stores on their property. Runway 18,
which means the aircraft are departing due south, is the runway used 90
percent of the time, because that is where the wind comes from.
Aircraft, like any mechanical device, do have problems and pilots do
practice regularly for emergencies on departure and landing. Having a buffer
area at the end of the primary runway is extremely important for safe
operations at any airport. Our appointed and elected officials have a
responsibility to ensure that development does not encroach or compromise
Any development, including homes, schools and stores built within the flight
pattern of an airport will only result in unnecessary risk and long-term
pressure to close the airport. The public needs to know that most airports
cannot be closed because of grants that require reimbursement to the federal
government should the airport ever be closed. General aviation airports are
critical to the long-term fiscal health of our communities.
Our county has seen the wisdom of placing the Southwest County courthouse
and detention center next to the airport. It's not in the flight path. This
makes sense. You put things that are compatible next to each other in a
The airport doesn't irritate the residents of the jailhouse ---- not that we
should be concerned if it did. The jailhouse causes the airport little
concern. However, I am concerned about the many young families living next
to the airport and jailhouse. It's just not compatible.
Although I feel bad for the pretty lady cutting my hair and many others who
have been and will be convinced to buy homes next to the airport and
jailhouse, they need to understand that their situation is not going to get
better. It's an airport; it's a jailhouse and they are going to get bigger,
I encourage our elected officials, the Airport Land Use Commission and
courts to hang in there and do the right thing.
Gary Weidman lives in Temecula.
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