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City Concerned Over Navy Report on Air Operations

The Navy has updated a study on impacts of airfields on local communities, and the mayor is questioning why the Hotel del and residences have been added to an accident zone.

Coronado officials are alarmed by the latest update to a Navy report outlining the effects of two local bases on surrounding communities.

Mayor Casey Tanaka pointed to the inclusion of homes along Ocean Boulevard and the in a potential accident zone for as cause for concern.

They were not labeled as such in an earlier version of the report, produced nearly 30 years ago.

“I think the Navy owes these homeowners and the Del a big explanation about why they are listed in this zone as of 2012 when they were not listed there in 1984,” the mayor wrote in an e-mail.

Tanaka said he and City Manager Blair King traveled to Washington D.C. April 4-6 to take up the issue with high-level Navy officials. 

They met with aides for Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, along with Coronado's current Congressional representative, Susan Davis, while in the nation's capitol. They also touched base this week with Rep. Brian Bilbray, who is running for re-election in the new district to which Coronado has been shifted.

The Navy released the document, called the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Update, or AICUZ, Wednesday. It examined the effects of North Island in Coronado and the .

The report defines “the minimum area where land use controls are recommended to protect the health, safety, and welfare of those living on or near a military airfield,” according to the study. 

In addition to accident zones, the report also considers noise contours and how land-use plans could affect the Navy's operations.

New factors taken into account for Coronado include older aircraft making way for newer planes and helicopters and the possible homeporting of a third aircraft carrier, in addition to the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Carl Vinson.

Criteria examined for Imperial Beach include an increase in helicopter operations, though the Navy contends the noise contours have shrunk since a similar report was prepared for the community in 1989.

In a statement, the Navy said “data derived from the AICUZ study is intended for use by local citizens and governmental officials involved in land use planning and community development.”

But Tanaka questioned whether the document could weaken “the city's ability to govern its own land use as it has for well over a century.”

Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney did not return a call regarding the report.

ibcalif April 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Mayor Jim's busy being wined and dined by city employee union leaders. Quit bugging him!

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