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.