Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Airport commission could create zone near Travis

By
From page A3 | December 12, 2013 | Leave Comment

FAIRFIELD — The Solano County Airport Land Use Commission on Thursday could take a step of its own to help preserve the ability of Travis Air Force Base to use a new assault landing strip.

It could create what it calls an “assault landing zone training area overlay zone,” extending over a vast area of rural land mostly east of the base. It could then prohibit any new structure more than 200 feet high within the zone.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. at the county Government Center, 675 Texas St.

Travis Air Force Base opened its assault landing strip last spring. Pilots fly C-17 planes over the area east of the base at low altitudes, preparing to land in a short amount of space and practicing the evasive manuevers they might have to make overseas.

County officials estimate the proposed zone covers 120,000 acres, or about 180 square miles. It extends from the Air Force base past Highway 113 almost to the Sacramento River and from Highway 12 in the south almost as far as Midway Road at the northernmost point.

“Those are big planes moving fast so they cover ground quickly,” county Principal Planner Jim Leland said.

No cities are within the proposed overlay zone. This is all rural farming areas under the land use control of the Solano County Board of Supervisors.

Structures that exceed 200 feet in rural areas might be a grain elevator or television broadcast antenna, Leland said.

Or it might be a wind turbine. Wind industry officials have talked of someday building electricity-generating wind turbines north of Highway 12 within the proposed overlay zone.

Theoretically, the Board of Supervisors could override the 200-foot limit set by the Airport Land Use Commission under certain circumstances. But supervisors appear to be moving in a similar direction.

The Board of Supervisors on Dec. 3 extended a moratorium on renewable energy projects such as wind turbines for 10 months. It also put a moratorium on wireless communication devices more than 200 feet tall. Meanwhile, a Travis Air Base land use study and other studies are to be completed.

Those actions extend to all rural areas. The Board of Supervisors did so in part because of its concern about preserving the assault landing zone space.

In addition, Supervisor Jim Spering has talked about having the Board of Supervisors create a “clear zone” in the overlay area banning any large-scale development that could affect assault landing strip training.

Also Thursday, the commission will discuss the scope of work and timeline for updating its 2002 Travis Air Force Base compatibility plan. In particular, the update will look at how large-scale renewable energy projects might affect the base.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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