County to review SM airport master plan

SAN MARTIN
– The county’s Airports Commission will meet next week to review
a planning document that will dictate the amount of growth allowed
at San Martin’s South County airport and the county’s other two
general-aviation airports over the next two decades.
SAN MARTIN – The county’s Airports Commission will meet next week to review a planning document that will dictate the amount of growth allowed at San Martin’s South County airport and the county’s other two general-aviation airports over the next two decades.

The commission will review a recommendation to county supervisors on the County Airport Master Plan, which sets growth limits at the three airports. The plan will also decide whether South County Airport should accommodate the business community and its larger turboprops and corporate jets.

Earlier this fall, county airports officials recommended the San Martin airfield should be able to base between 425 to 550 aircraft by 2022 – roughly 125 to 250 planes above the current maximum growth capacity of 300 outlined in the airport’s 1982 Master Plan.

The San Martin airport currently has room for 178 planes, but that number will increase to 278 in 2003 with the expected completion of 100 new hangars approved this year under the current master plan. Roughly 90 planes park at the airport now.

At the new maximum capacity, officials forecast the number of annual operations – individual takeoffs and landings – at the facility could jump from 56,000 a year now to over 200,000.

Meanwhile, officials proposed to essentially cap growth at San Jose’s Reid-Hillview airport, which has been a source of lively protest for years from residents in subdivisions that run adjacent to the airport’s edge.

Officials recommended trimming 150 planes off the current growth capacity at Reid-Hillivew – leaving room for only 24 more planes over the present-day actual capacity of 726.

Palo Alto’s airport was also slated for limited growth, taking on room for 23 more planes than current master plan levels dictate and 60 more than can be accommodated at today’s level of development.

Published county guidelines for the airport plan update include financial self-sufficiency, preserving quality of life, maintaining safety zones and meeting the needs of the aviation community.

The meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7:15 p.m. in the Issac Newton Senter Auditorium at the County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St. in downtown San Jose. For information, call 929-1060 or visit www.countyroads.org.

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