CARLSBAD — Time is ticking before the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan update is sent before the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
As such, the City Council approved on Sept. 11 several measures to work with the county over the highly controversial master plan and draft environmental impact report (DEIR).
However, the city did not reveal its strategy or methods for those negotiations, opting for a closed session to formulate their plans. The plan, meanwhile, will go before the County Board of Supervisors as early as next month, or in the next several months.
Denver-based attorney Peter Kirsch of Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell, though, did lay out several “action items” the city and county could use to strengthen commitments and obligations. In the summer, his firm responded to the plan with a second comment letter citing numerous concerns over inaccurate methodologies, data, transparency, environmental and noise concerns, to name a few.
“Airport governance and decision making is really important to give the community the confidence the kind of challenges we are facing today don’t happen in the future,” Kirsch said. “There’s a lot of distrust in how decisions are made with the airport. A lot of questions about the role of the city and of the county with regard, not just operations of the airport, but the development of the airport and most importantly the impact of the airport on the community.”
First, airport and governance is a major sticking point and the recommendations include creating a Joint Powers Agency with Carlsbad, the county and most likely other North County cities. Other alternatives include creating an airport commission or amending the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee to include representatives appointed by the city.
Additionally, other concerns from the city’s comment letter concerning the DEIR include impact mitigation and land use, noise, transportation, biological resources, greenhouse gasses, aesthetic and visual resources and hazards. Finally, information and transparency is another topic and the city is pushing for the county to submit monthly reports detailing noise monitoring.
“To be perfectly blunt about it, there is a distrust of the county and the information the county is conveying about its master plan and its EIR,” Kirsch added. “If there’s one result of this, it should be the county should be more transparent. Not just to the city, but to the residents.”
The council approved to include adding noise “monitors as necessary” as the county plans to replace at least one monitor. Councilwoman Cori Schumacher pushed for the council to include the monitoring, while Councilman Michael Schumacher (no relation) ask for the language to not be as finite as the airport may need more than one monitor.
As a result, the city decided it was the best path forward. Mayor Matt Hall said to avoid confusion between what noise is and to whom, data is important to make decisions in the future.
Residents, meanwhile, continued to turn their ire toward the county for, what many said, has been a historically devious entity wielding unchecked power to grow the airport to a size not compatible with the city and neighboring residents.
Several noted how the county’s previous master plan in 1997, and representatives, said one thing, then did another. Transparency, several said, has created a deep mistrust of the county and its true intentions.
“The reality is we still don’t have answers about the expansion,” said Hope Nelson of the group Citizens for a Friendly Airport.
Talk about misinformation. John, you must be one of those pilots who flies over my house at 1200 feet. Or maybe you just like going to Vegas and want the convenience of not going down to Lindbergh. But making stuff up isn’t an argument.
This is so much misinformation. I’m sick of the misinformation. The city council referred to “noise rules”. There are none! Just like I-5 has no noise rules. Infrastructure like freeways and airports are 1) economic foundation and 2) freedom. They are protected. I hate that my neighbor rumbles by my home in his Harley at 5 am. Can’t do anything about it. Freedom, economy. The airport is nowhere close to being “noise impacted”as defined by the FAA. The list for on and on. Anti airport advocates compare this airport to John Wayne which is like comparing a tricycle to motorcycle. The county had to go through the ridiculous exercise to make a formal comparison because it was brought up. The city has no jurisdiction and they’re going to try to negotiate with the county with absolutely no standing. What a waste of time and resources! I’m very disappointed in the city council folding to the few unreasonable anti airport people whose antics have wasted untold tax dollars.
Nice spelling. Economic growth can occur without ruining the quality of life of everyone who lives here. Just keep bringing in more high tech, biotech, etc. This airport boondoggle is just to benefit a few at the expense of the many.
You mean the expansion that is not an expansion? Like the truth that is not the truth? More political doubletalk from people who have lost our trust. Orwell would be very proud.
Commerisl airport expansion should be a priority to drive the economic growth of North County.
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