CARLSBAD — A local group has filed a lawsuit against San Diego County over the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan.
Citizens for a Friendly Airport announced on Nov. 30 it had filed suit in San Diego Superior Court citing several grievances. Many in the group, and some residents in Carlsbad and neighboring cities, have called the Master Plan the county’s opportunity to expand the airport.
A source of contention for residents has been the lengthening of the runway by up to 800 feet but the Master Plan does not include any proposed boundary expansion.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 (Supervisor Kristin Gaspar recused herself) in October to approve the plan, which included upgrading the airport’s designation to D-III, which allows for larger private jets, along with lengthening the runway up to 800 feet.
“The approved updated McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan appears to be nothing more than an attempt by the County of San Diego to turn McClellan-Palomar Airport into a large regional airport to offload capacity from San Diego International Airport — an objective that was hidden from the public during the entire planning process,” Hope Nelson, spokeswoman for the group, said in a press release. “Comments made by three BOS members at the Oct. 10 meeting clearly demonstrate this intention. Therefore, after great consideration, because of a lack of transparency in the planning process and deficient environmental studies, Citizens for a Friendly Airport was forced to file this lawsuit to protect the residents of North San Diego County.”
Supervisor Bill Horn was in full support of the Master Plan and said during the Oct. 10 meeting it would be cheaper for the county to approve the D-III measure, rather than continue with the current B-II designation and improvements, then having to spend more money to upgrade to the D-III.
“I have no problem with either option. I’ve always wanted it longer,” Horn said of the runway. “This is an important asset to the county.”
Carlsbad submitted two comment letters regarding the proposed master plan and draft environmental impact report (DEIR) over the past several months. The city also hired an outside legal firm earlier this year to assist with the master plan comments and any potential litigation from the city.
“In response to the county’s master plan … Carlsbad residents have voiced concerns and identified priorities concerning airport operations and facilities,” Mayor Matt Hall said at the Oct. 10 meeting. “The city’s comments reflect the concerns of our community and seeking commitment form the county seeking accountability to the residents of Carlsbad.”