Solano County

County approves Travis training area restriction

By From page A1 | June 11, 2014

FAIRFIELD — No structures taller than 200 feet will get built in a sprawling, rural area east of Travis Air Force Base, to avoid creating conflicts with low-flying military planes.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to take this step. It amended the county General Plan, with changes to zoning regulations to follow.

Solano County wants to make certain that C-17 planes from Travis Air Force Base can practice maneuvers associated with the assault landing strip opened by the base a year ago. Pilots practice unpredictable arrival and departure moves that they might have to use when flying under fire in such places as Afghanistan.

Federal Aviation Administration rules say planes cannot fly at altitudes of 500 feet if obstructions more than 200 feet high are present. Solano County’s goal is to avoid creating these obstructions within the vast assault landing zone training area.

By making the General Plan changes, the Board of Supervisors enacted a decision made Dec. 12, 2013, by the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission. It also followed a May 1 recommendation made by the county Planning Commission.

The county had six months to amend its General Plan to be consistent with the December 2013 Airport Land Use Commission decision, county Principal Planner Jim Leland said.

County officials have estimated the area with the 200-foot limit as being about 100,000 acres. Most of the area is farmland or wetlands. The area extends east of Travis Air Force Base to near Rio Vista and north to near Midway Road at the northernmost point. Highway 12 serves as the southern boundary, except just east of Suisun City, where the boundary extends south of the highway into Suisun Marsh.

The Montezuma Hills is outside the training area. These hills contain hundreds of wind turbines that measure about 400 feet tall from the ground to the top of an upturned blade. But the training area height limitation will affect proposals to build more of these electricity-generating turbines north of Highway 12.

Supervisors made few comments before unanimously approving the General Plan change. The decision is in keeping with other recent steps the Board of Supervisors has taken, such as putting a moratorium on commercial solar and wind energy projects while the county studies how such projects would affect Travis Air Force Base.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] 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.

Discussion | 6 comments

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  • CD BrooksJune 11, 2014 - 6:41 am

    A little research tells us that "Travis Air Force Base handles more cargo and passenger traffic through its airport than any other military air terminal in the United States." Not to mention "Travis AFB is the largest employer in the City and Solano County as well, and the massive Travis workforce has a local economic impact of more than $1 billion annually." Let's not rock that boat.

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  • LarryJune 11, 2014 - 8:12 am

    CD I agree with your comment. However I believe that our Supervisors is rocking the boat. What happens if another conflict occurs where there are Montezuma Hills conditions are present where the C-17's needs low flying training how are they going to get this type of training. You cannot put limits on a military base and expect them to be happy. The main reason we have Travis AFB here in Solano County is the mission it serves. Remember the mission can be change due to conflicts with local government.

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  • CD BrooksJune 11, 2014 - 8:53 am

    Larry, I hear you. I have grave concerns about the "subtle encroachment" and hope they watch that.

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  • BobJune 11, 2014 - 11:02 am

    This has Jim Spering written all over this, he needs time to buy this property to sell back at a profit to the Airforce

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  • Ulises GuberJune 11, 2014 - 8:47 pm

    This shouldn't effect the casino chief Bull Sitter's tribe plans to build at the corner of Hwy 113 & Hwy 12 near Rio Vista the 198 ft tall main structure is under the 200 ft limit and the 35 acre golf course won't pose any threat to Travis unless a golf ball exceeds 200 ft high... :)

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  • rlw895June 11, 2014 - 10:02 pm

    Cool. Suisun City builds a Walmart, Rio Vista builds a casino. Fair trade.

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