Airport protection bill passes committee on unanimous vote

April 3, 2008

Airport protection bill passes committee on unanimous vote

By AOPA ePublishing staff

A bill to protect airports by strengthening California’s land-use laws has passed its first hurdle with a 5-0 vote in its favor from the Senate Local Government Committee.

The vote followed an April 2 hearing, and AOPA worked closely with bill sponsor Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) and the California Transportation Commission to promote the measure. AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer testified in favor of the bill, and AOPA also asked members to contact their state senators and express support for S.B.1118.

Senate staffers reported that hundreds of members responded, reminding their senators of the vital role small airports play in California’s transportation infrastructure, economy, and delivery of health and safety services such as medical airlifts and firefighting.

California’s airport land-use laws date back to 1967, but over the years amendments, inconsistent administration, and rapidly growing pressure for urban development near airports have weakened them. S.B.1118 would strengthen state land-use laws by requiring all counties with at least one public-use airport to have an airport land-use commission. Marin, San Bernardino, and Santa Cruz counties are among those affected by the bill.

“This kind of legislation is vital to the future of our airports,” said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Greg Pecoraro. “By preventing incompatible development, we prevent the kind of problems and complaints that close airports.”

April 3, 2008