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The San Diego County Airport Authority is nearing completion on a two year long project to update its Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, which governs construction in the areas affected by the San Diego International Airport. On February 21, Airport Planning Manager Angie Jamison visited the Peninsula Community Planning Board in Point Loma to discuss how the Plan affects the area, much of which lies within the airport’s flight path.

Four separate zones are addressed in the overall Airport Influence Area, which includes a large swath of land in San Diego and also portions of National City and unincorporated neighborhoods within the county along which incoming air traffic makes its descent. All of these zones directly affect the Peninsula communities of Point Loma and Ocean Beach.

The first is an “airspace protection” overlay, wherein the Federal Aviation Administration must be notified of new construction, and projects are subject to potential height limitations and may not allow for uses that create hazards for aircraft including excessive lighting, dust, or attracting flocks of birds that could collide with planes.

An “overflight” zone would require future residential projects to make disclosure to buyers about a possible noise nuisance from being in or near a flight path.

Local real estate agent Cynthia Conger expressed concern about how disclosure requirements could affect business and home values in the area.

“Being out of the flight path is a whole different ball of wax. Being in the flight path could be a $100,000 difference” in property values, said Conger.

“Noise contours” overlaid on a map showed some areas of Point Loma and Ocean Beach could regularly be expected to experience plane noise of 65 or even 70 decibels, and some land uses going forward would be considered incompatible with such sustained noise levels, including schools and hospitals.

Safety zones would further restrict development in some areas directly in the path of jets taking off – uses such as senior residential facilities and jails would join schools and hospitals on the “incompatible use” list due to the difficulties posed with quickly moving people who would likely be present at such sites in the event of an aircraft emergency and need for a quick evacuation.

While any non-approved uses currently existing would be allowed under the new Plan, if a use such as a daycare facility in a restricted area were abandoned for 24 months continuously, it would not be allowed to re-open.

A draft version of the Plan is expected to be released for public comment on March 13, with an environmental impact report to follow. The new plan is slated for adoption sometime in late 2013.

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