Today, we move beyond the Palomar Airport problem-plagued landfills, the topic of Blogs 2 & 3. Let’s give the FAA and County a chance to respond to the issues raised.
Today’s Question: Should Residents Gripe About Palomar Airport Expansion?
After my first blog, my email (email@example.com) received a question: “Will my blogs be balanced?” My response: “When I can say that the FAA or County is doing something right at Palomar, I will.”
The problem is that the FAA and County make it darn hard to say nice things.
For instance, you will often hear the FAA, County, and some residents near Palomar say: “You can’t gripe about Palomar Airport safety, noise, traffic, or pollution.” You bought a house near the airport. What did you expect? The implication is that everyone knows that Palomar can expand unconditionally.
What Expansion Should Near-Palomar Airport Home Owners Expect Based on the Public Records?
What do you find in the public records about Palomar Airport if you house hunt in Carlsbad?
You find Carlsbad Municipal Code §21.53.015 . It says Carlsbad voters have the right to vote on Palomar Airport expansion if expansion requires amendments to the Carlsbad general plan and/or zoning ordinances.
You find Carlsbad Conditional Use Permit [CUP] 172. By it, Carlsbad allows the County to operate Palomar Airport only as a “Basic Transport General Aviation Airport.” A “Basic Transport General Aviation Airport” serves private pilots; helicopters related to police, medical aid, and small businesses; very limited commuter passengers shuttling to or from San Diego or Los Angeles, and small corporate jets supporting local businesses.
You find the following Carlsbad August 24, 2012 comment on the California Pacific Airlines Environmental Assessment that evaluates new service at Palomar Airport:
“Longstanding city policy has been to support CRQ [Palomar Airport] as a general aviation facility. Carlsbad General Land Use Element objective B.1 (Special Planning Considerations – Airport) is to 'encourage the continued operation of McClellan-Palomar Airport as a general aviation airport.' The proposed passenger airline service with planes seating 70 or more passengers could conflict with the City of Carlsbad’s Land Use Element Objective to support general aviation.”
In short, since 1979 the County has promised near-Palomar house buyers that Palomar Airport was a limited use airport. That is what the County agreed to when it accepted Carlsbad CUP 172.
So long as Palomar Airport remains a limited use airport, there is no need for an 1100-foot-runway extension or for a 1000 “Runway Safety Area” over a closed methane emitting landfill.
The FAA and County now want to renege on 33 years of promises to the citizens of Carlsbad and surrounding areas. So yes, near-airport residents s have a right to gripe about Palomar Airport expansion.
As the ongoing Carlsbad “Community Vision” statement notes, let’s maintain “the small town feel and beach community character” of Carlsbad.
Next Week: Fair & Balanced: The Pros & Cons of Palomar Expansion: The Fly in the Ointment