Since 1967 California’s airport land-use commissions (ALUCs) have served public safety and overseen orderly development around airports—but a budget proposal pending before a legislative budget committee would allow counties to eliminate the panels.
ALUCs could be eliminated if certain sections of the state’s Public Utilities Code were cut as part of a new state budget-cutting initiative. But the cost of establishing ALUCs comes from aeronautics accounts funded by excise taxes on fuel, not from general fund revenue, AOPA said in a letter urging Gov. Edmund G. Brown to reconsider shutting down ALUCs as the state wrestles with deficits in the billions of dollars.
“Clearly, our airports must be protected from incompatible land uses in the airport environs,” wrote Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. “Elimination of the provisions for establishment and operation of airport land-use commissions will undoubtedly lead to threats to airport viability.”
He pointed out that in California, which is home to 45,000 AOPA members, 9 percent of both gross revenue and jobs are attributable to aviation.
John Pfeifer, AOPA’s Western-Pacific regional manager, attended an April 11 Senate budget subcommittee hearing, met with staff, and went on record opposing the ALUC elimination proposal, which was one of five programs targeted for cuts. The subcommittee rejected all the elimination plans. Now AOPA’s focus moves to the Assembly, where the budget cutting proposals are still under consideration.
“We want members to be prepared to contact their Assembly member to register their opposition to the elimination of the airport land-use commission requirements when the trailer bill is heard in the Assembly budget subcommittee,” he said.
No date has yet been set for that hearing, but it was expected in a few weeks.