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Palomar Airport: A Good Neighbor? Blog 75

Palomar Scenic Corridor Landscaping
Palomar Scenic Corridor Landscaping

Do county Palomar Airport expanisons comply with the law or even nice neighbor norms?  The ugly unlandscaped Palomar Airport slopes along Palomar Airport Road and El Camino Real shout “no.” 

If YOU develop land in Carlsbad or the county, you must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] and planning and zoning laws.  A large project triggers landscape requirements.  Greenery is both pretty and mitigates project-induced traffic smog.

But the county ignores rules at Palomar Airport.  In particular, the county has ignored Carlsbad’s 2007 letter to the county for the last 7 years:

Dear Mr. Drinkwater [Then & Now County Director of Airports]:

“I am writing to express the Planning Department’s concerns over the County’s responsivenes to staff comments, compliance with City and State regulations, and follow through on previous commitments.  …  I refer to the permit proccessing related to … landscaping on the perimeter of the airport property.”                                            

                                          *               *               *

“… [D]uring the 2004 processing of the parking areas, County and City staff met several times to address the lack of permeter landscaping along the airport property’s frontage with El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road.  These prime arterials are designated as existing or future scenic corridors and aesthetically pleasing landscaping is an integral part of that designation.”

Despite continued County assertions of cooperation, this issue remains unresolved.  City staff has repeatedly offered  potential solutions to the issues however the County has rejected these solutions as unworkable: the proposed County solution to greening of the perimeter slopes and improving aesthetics is to plant trees in the City’s right of way, which the City would be responasible for maintaining and would assume liability in case of auto collision.”

                                        *               *               *

“Taken indvidually, these occurences could be seen as aberrations or oversight.  Considered in whole, a troubling pattern emerges.  The City has cooperated with the County …  Meanwhile, the County has not fulfilled an over three year old request for a site plan, has taken a passive role on improving the aesthetics of their site adjacent to scenic roadways, and has been unwilling to comply with requests for required information such as stormwater management reports and Landscape Manual compliance.”   Don Neu, Planning Director [Carlsbad November 5, 2007 letter]

County Supervisor Horn and Carlsbad Mayor Hall say the proposed Palomar 900-foot runway extension is great.  The county and Carlsbad care for you.  Should new Palomar projects proceed when the county can’t honor past duties?

Where is the county compliance with Carlsbad landscaping needs?  Where is  Carlsbad enforcement?  Perhaps the new Carlsbad City Manager Steve Sarkozy can do what his predecessors could not.  Can he earn his $260,000 annual base pay?

It takes 10 years to landscape 3000 feet of ugly slope along two scenic corridors?  Palomar Airport Road & El Camino Real. Really? Carlsbad and county would be on your tail if your noncompliance were so blatant. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

M Clark April 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM
I'm glad to see this issue being publicized. I am very much in support of our Airport and love it's convenience, but this is something I am disappointed and complain about every time I drive pass.
Madeleine April 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Thank you, Rob, for bringing attention to this! I support you and wish you lots of luck. I would love to help you.
Raymond Bender April 21, 2014 at 07:16 PM
DG - Yes I know it is MP. And no disrespect to Mr. McClellan, but saying MP every time in a blog eats up too much space. My articles are already too long as they are. I would think you would be much more upset at a public agency that treats the public badly than someone who uses P instead of MP.
DG May 02, 2014 at 11:57 AM
Thanks for your reply Ray. I focus on getting the facts correct (this starts with the correct name) and the many positives of what McClellan Palomar Airport has provided to North County and Carlsbad. Simulating the city economy, providing jobs, corporate HQ for businesses, flight safety and trainings are more important from my vantage than a few flowers planted on the side of a hill.
Raymond Bender May 05, 2014 at 07:26 PM
DG - Agree with much of your comment. The problem is that Palomar development need not be "either"/"or." Responsible development can promote business and be safety and environmental friendly.

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