REGION — McClellan-Palomar Airport has a new master plan.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the highly controversial master plan update in a 4-0 vote on Oct. 10. Supervisor Kristin Gaspar recused herself.
In addition, the supervisors also approved upgrading the airport’s designation to D-III, which allows for larger private jets, along with lengthening the runway up to 800 feet.
Upgrades and extension of the runway and shifting the runway and taxiway will take between 13-20 years, according to the staff report.
Supervisor Bill Horn was in full support of the master plan and said it would be cheaper for the county to approve the D-III measure, rather than continue with the current B-II designation and improvements, than 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 Mayor Matt Hall said it is imperative the city and county collaborate and work together before any airport development plans are pushed through. The council, he said, had not taken a formal position.
The city submitted two comment letters regarding the proposed master plan and draft environmental impact report (DEIR) over the past several months.
“In response to the county’s master plan … Carlsbad residents have voiced concerns and identified priorities concerning airport operations and facilities,” Hall said. “The city’s comments reflect the concerns of our community and seeking commitment from the county seeking accountability to the residents of Carlsbad.”
Meanwhile, dozens of residents from Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos plus representatives from the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee and business organizations spoke to the board.
Concerned residents once again relayed their concerns over the DEIR, economic analysis and chided the county for decades of bad faith.
Hope Nelson of Citizens for a Friendly Airport said her group supported keeping the B-II designation and opposed lengthening the runway. Additionally, she railed against the county for using economic data from 2008-09 to predict forecasts by 2030. County staff, though, said the economic data was not used for analysis.
Also, opponents of the plan railed against the county for its lack of accurate methodologies and data with greenhouse gasses, noise, increased air traffic and potential for larger jets to land at the airport.
“There is an unbridled commitment to expand the airport,” Carlsbad resident Vickey Syage said.
Supporters, meanwhile, included three members of the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee, the Carlsbad and Vista chambers of commerce, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and California Pacific Airlines.
All championed for the D-III designation noting it would provide greater economic growth and revenues for the cities and county. During its presentation, county staff noted the 2030 forecast estimates more than 4,600 jobs, $33.4 million in state and local tax revenue, $155.2 million in personal income and $560.8 million in business revenues.
“The D-III option is the most aligned with the aviation industry,” said Ted Owen, president of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.