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Despite concerns, San Luis Obispo eyes development near airport

AOPA has notified municipal officials in San Luis Obispo, California, that the association opposes the city’s move to allow "incompatible" land development close to the county’s regional airport.

On Dec. 9, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted 4-1 to proceed with a growth plan strategy that overrides concerns about noise and hazards noted by the local airport land-use commission, and strips that panel’s decision-making function.

The vote, delayed from October, went forward after the seating of a new council member who supported the development plan, according to a report in a local newspaper Dec. 10.

The California Department of Transportation also opposes the council’s overruling of the airport commission, said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. John Pfeifer, AOPA Western/Pacific regional manager, met with Caltrans aeronautics division and legal staffers on the San Luis Obispo issue on Dec. 2.

Pfeifer and Collins have held numerous conference calls with state transportation officials about the conflict over compatible land uses in the area or the airport.

In a Dec. 8 letter, Collins urged San Luis Obispo officials to resolve the "significant noise and safety issues" identified by the state agency in several communications to the city before enacting any planning policies inconsistent with the current airport land-use plan.

The city should allow an ongoing update of the airport land-use plan to be completed before adopting a planning strategy for the area, Collins suggested in his letter to Derek Johnson, San Luis Obispo’s community development director.

According to the news account of the council’s vote, the only dissenter, Councilman Dan Carpenter, warned that the action would expose the city to litigation over the development policy—which the newspaper said has "triggered fierce debate" in the community.

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Airport Advocacy, Advocacy

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