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Future of Auburn, Lincoln airports part of new $200,000 study

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Compatibility. It’s a word that has come to define issues surrounding the future of the Auburn Airport, as well as the county’s other airports in Lincoln and at Blue Canyon in the Sierra. This coming Wednesday, the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency will be holding a public workshop to outline the steps it will be taking to update a 12-year-old Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan that will help guide development decisions in the vicinity of Placer County airports for at least another decade. Celia McAdam, the transportation planning agency executive director, said that the underlying concern of the board has been to keep airports viable and that isn’t expected to be changed as the 18-month, $200,000 update moves forward. Flight patterns and the impact they have, closer in on development, and farther out, on noise, are two issues that predominate in updates, McAdam said. The crash of a jet into Sacramento’s Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in 1982 left 22 people dead and continues to come up in hearings when development clashes with land-use guidelines. “People do cite that as an illustration of what can happen,” McAdam said. “The fact is small airplane crashes happen all the time. And whether that incident happened or not, we would still do the same amount of due diligence. We want to make sure if it happens, we can minimize the impact.” The new plan will update and incorporate any new state or federal regulations adopted since 2000. At the workshop, Placer County Transportation Planning Agency staff will describe the components to the plan, the process to update it, and how the plan is coordinated with the land-use authority from cities and counties. Also to be discussed will be a projection on potential issues the plan update may address. The Auburn Airport is owned by the city of Auburn and is surrounded by an unincorporated area of Placer County. Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes said that the city has been sensitive to the potential for encroachment, including too much home building nearby and a recent attempt to establish a school on the edge of the flight zone. The school at Parkside Church eventually decided not to pursue its application with the county. “It’s important that we keep it in our sites,” Holmes said. “There’s the possibility of a buildup that could force the Federal Aviation Administration to say we have to close the airport. It’s a jewel that some of our businesses depend on and an asset for the city.” ----------------------------- What: Public Workshop on Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan update Where: Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn When: 9 a.m. meeting start Wednesday. Workshop is eighth item on agenda