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Q & A with Mayor Casey Tanaka

The mayor discusses his issues with the Navy's update to an air-use study on the eve of an appearance by the commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado at City Hall.

Coronado officials have been concerned about the impact on the community of a Navy document that has expanded the definition of crash zones in town. The study, the , will be discussed at the City Council meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday when Captain Yancy Lindsey of Naval Base Coronado is set to appear.

Mayor Casey Tanaka, in an email interview, took the time to break down the process and explain the city's concerns about the findings in the AICUZ, as the report is known. Residents are showing interest – last month.

Patch: What do you hope to learn from Lindsey’s presentation?

Casey Tanaka: This is the Navy's chance to introduce its findings from the 2012 AICUZ update and it will be the Council's chance to ask questions about this update.

Patch: What steps do you think the City of Coronado should be taking at this point to address concerns raised by the new study?

Tanaka: The City has made every effort to communicate its concerns at both the local level of the Navy's chain of command as well as at the top in Washington D.C. At this point, the Navy has been entirely unwilling to address the City's concerns in meaningful ways that will positively impact the 400+ homeowners in the 2012 AICUZ's Accident Potential Zone One. The Navy has also not made any comment about the Hotel Del Coronado being in this Accident Potential Zone One.

Patch: How big of a deal is all of this?

Tanaka: This is a big deal. As of 2002, California law (The Knight Act) requires the County's Airport Authority (The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority) to include the recommendations of the AICUZ into a state document called the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) and this process is scheduled to proceed for NASNI around 2014.

Structures in the Accident Potential Zones One and Two from the Navy's 2012 AICUZ will now have to hope that this State Mandated process will not impinge on their property rights while adding a needless layer of bureaucracy which will now apply to these structures.

To make matters worse, none of this makes anyone any safer. The most obvious way to improve safety would be for the Navy to take actions with regard to its flight patterns and approaches to take these homes out of the flight path. The most obvious solution would be for the Navy to re-angle its runway by a few degrees. This would take all the homes and the Hotel Del out of any Accident Potential Zones and would eliminate the problem entirely.

Patch: Should residents in the APZ be concerned?

Tanaka: No more than they were yesterday or in 1984 when the last AICUZ came out. Planes have been landing on this runway without incident for years and decades and the inclusion of 400+ homes and the Hotel Del Coronado in the 2012 AICUZ that were not listed as such in 1984 (the last time the Navy did an AICUZ for this runway was 1984) makes no logical sense. The angles of approach and manner in which planes land on Runway 29 hasn't changed. The only thing that has changed is the attitude of Washington bureaucrats towards our taxpaying residents.

Patch: What about those outside the APZ, should they be concerned?

Tanaka: No. Our runway is along the ocean and this adds a level of safety that other runways can't offer. In most circumstances, you have to fly over homes and structures to access a runway.

In Coronado, you can approach a runway mostly along the beach or over the ocean. This means homes outside the APZ zones should not worry too much except perhaps for helicopters.

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