CARLSBAD — The McClellan-Palomar Airport is a burning topic for many in the city, including the San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the master plan update.
As such, the under-the-radar Palomar Airport Advisory Committee (PAAC) has been a focal appoint for those pushing back against the county. The supervisors voted to reclassify the airport to a D-III airport, while the PAAC recommended to keep the airport at a B-II classification.
The PAAC consists of nine members nominated by the District 5 representative and appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The city councils in Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista can identify one resident to present to the District 5 representative (Desmond), who then decides whether to submit the name to the board or appoint someone of his own choosing, according to the staff report.
On March 26, the City Council unanimously approved to submit Winthrop Cramer and in a 4-1 vote (Mayor Matt Hall voted no) Shirley Anderson, as the alternative, to District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond. Cramer had the highest score among the four applicants followed by Chuck Hunter, Shirley Anderson and Ron Lovick.
Desmond, who represents Carlsbad in District 5 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, sent a recommendation letter to the City Council on Feb. 1 announcing eight residents who applied to for the city’s seat on the PAAC.
The Board of Supervisors approved an extension for the City Council’s nomination period until March 28 so the council could nominate its own resident.
Cramer, a local business owner, said he’s angry over how the county is treating the county. In addition, he sees both sides of the arguments from business and resident viewpoints.
He said there are two major issues — expansion and safety and noise, the latter of which has been a major point of concern for residents for years.
“Frankly, I think the residents of Carlsbad are angry,” Cramer said. “I don’t mind being aggressive and the voice.”
Anderson, a member of the Citizens of a Friendly Airport, who is suing the county over the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan, lives in Bressi Ranch and is a private pilot. The city also filed a lawsuit independent of the resident group. Both suits have focused on the California Environmental Quality Act and findings in the report.
She said she thought it may be a conflict to be on the PAAC, being also a resident whose city has filed suit. She also said she has been active for years in various aspects, meetings and other issues surrounding the airport.
“I would like to see that airport thrive as it is,” Anderson added. “I would like to contribute a real synergy between the citizens that actually live in this community and the airport.”
Also up for the position was Chuck Hunter, who lives within eyesight of the airport and is a former Navy F-14 pilot, a commercial airline license and business owner. He is also on the city’s Traffic Safety Commission.
He said his experience with between the two would be a benefit for the city as someone who has years of experience with what a business needs to thrive, yet how to balance and be a voice for concerned residents.
“Knowing and understanding aviation and knowing and understanding Carlsbad,” he said of what he would bring. “Taking it all into place and then being the Carlsbad representative on the board to make sure Carlsbad residents get their voice heard.”
Lovick, who was appointed to the PAAC two years ago, said he’s been a private pilot for decades and Carlsbad is a unique city, noting a “powerful” infrastructure and desalination plant, to name a few. He said he is the right person due to his experience on the committee.
“The city is perfectly designed for everything that happens, including the airport,” Lovick said. “I think we know there will always be challenges. It’s very important that we all know how to compromise and get what we need for the overall best interests of the community.”