Commentary: Planes vs. Homes

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 17, 2005

It made sense to restrict development around McClellan when it was an air force base. Back then folks could count on noisy fighter jets and huge cargo planes flying in and out at all times of the day in night.

But before supervisors rezone land for development, especially for housing, they should keep in mind that McClellan is still an airport. As much as possible, land close to airports should be zoned for uses compatible with airport activities. That means office parks, light industrial and some commercial uses.

Of course Sacramento is desperately in need of housing. Some should and no doubt will be built around McClellan, but it should go only in those areas where noise from overflights and other airport activities can be minimized. Most important, before housing goes in, the county should require disclosure - informing everyone involved - the original homeowners and any future home buyers, that their houses may be impacted by airport noise.

Sacramento County, or more precisely those of us who pay taxes in Sacramento, have had to buy out too many homeowners in the past who said they did not know about airport noise. Disclosure protects the homeowners, the county and us - the taxpayers.

Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.