August 13, 2008
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Santa Clara County officials have backed off on their attempt to close California’s Reid-Hillview Airport.
The board of supervisors on Aug. 12 voted 4 to 1 to take no further action toward closure, and to accept a county counsel report that outlined the legal options relating to the airport. As AOPA had pointed out in a letter to the board, the only real option was to keep the airport open.
“This vote puts to rest the latest attempt to close Reid-Hillview,” said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of local airport advocacy. “The airport is such an important part of the transportation system, and we were prepared to do whatever necessary to keep it that way.”
AOPA had analyzed the counsel’s memo and found some of the data incomplete, misleading, or inaccurate. One statement AOPA did agree with was the counsel’s conclusion: “Should the Board determine that it wishes to pursue the sale or lease of the Reid-Hillview Airport, the legal procedures would be extremely complex and lengthy.”
Among other things, the airport is under federal grant assurances to keep the airport open in perpetuity. Only under extremely rare circumstances does the FAA grant an exception, and Reid-Hillview would have to meet the criteria, which it doesn’t.
Both AOPA and the FAA had committed to ensure that the airport continued to be operated as a publicly owned, public-use airport.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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