FAIRFIELD — Solano County Planning Commissioners quickly agreed Thursday that Travis Air Force Base needs an additional land use protection.
The commission recommended that Solano County ban new structures more than 200 feet tall from an area of about 150 square miles east of the base. Pilots in C-17 planes fly at low altitudes in this rural area as they practice combat arrivals and departures using an assault landing strip.
This recommendation to create an assault landing zone training area overlay will go to the Solano County Board of Supervisors for a possible county General Plan amendment.
The Planning Commission isn’t the first county commission to tackle the issue.The county Airport Land Use Commission in December 2013 voted to create the training area overlay with the 200-foot height limit. That gave the county a half-year to bring its General Plan into compliance.
Travis Air Force Base started using the assault landing strip about a year ago and has planes flying at close to 500 feet above the ground. Federal Aviation Administration standards defines an obstruction in such areas as object more than 200 feet tall.
Planning Commissioner Johnny Walker, Kelly Rhoads-Poston and Rod Boschee voted in favor of the training area recommendation. Commissioners Rick Tubbs and Kay Cayler were absent.
Most of the land within the training area overlay is farmland or wetlands. The training area for the most part is north of Highway 12, though it extends south of the highway in part of rural Suisun Marsh near Suisun City. It extends east to near Rio Vista and north to near Midway Road at the northernmost point.
The training area does not include the Montezuma Hills, where hundreds of wind turbines with blades that reach about 400 feet into air dominate the landscape. But the 200-foot limit would keep such turbines from being built north of Highway 12, a possibility allowed under the present county General Plan.
Walker asked if any turbines or communications towers more than 200 feet tall already exist in the assault landing zone training area overlay.
“I’m not aware of any structures that exceed 200 feet,” county Principal Planner Jim Leland said. “There might be some PG&E towers that do.”
Only new structures are affected by the training zone overlay, he said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.