Help save a small California airport
Okay, I know I'm new here but I saw this petition on the Aeroncapilots.com web site forum and thought I should share this with others.
Apparently some guy next to the Sonoma Valley airport in CA has decided to build a fly fishing operation next to the airport, building a fishing pond and putting up structures without the proper permits. On top of this, he also started a shooting range which faces the runway, and then he built a log fence across the over run area off the end of one of the runways.
Now the State DOT is involved and says to remove the fence or face getting the airport shut down. I'm sure there's lawsuits involved too.
This is a sport flying airport that needs our help, so please look at the short video and decide if you want to sign the petition. Unfortunately there's a short 18 second advertisment you have to endure before the news video, please bear with it.
Here's the video,
Here's the petition,
I'm a pilot and a flyfisherman and live in Sonoma, so I know both of these operations. The Minnesota author of this suggestion obviously has not seen either nor does he know the background. The truth is, there's no real conflict between these uses. The airport has a superb collection of antique aircraft and is a tourist highlight. The fly fishing school brings in fly fishermen from around the Bay Area and similarly brings tourists to Sonoma. Both are attractive businesses and both can exist quite nicely in peace together.
The airport, which is complaining about the casting pond, has ten acres of wetlands on the airport itself and has existed for many years with the birds those wetlands attract. Is a casting pond next door a bigger threat than ten acres of wetlands on the airport? This location is in the Sonoma Marsh; it's not called a marsh for nothing. Almost every airport at this end of the Bay is adjacent to water and wetlands -- Napa, Novato, Smith Ranch -- check them out on Google maps.
The fence across the overrun area, was built because the airport owner complained that fly fishing students had wandered onto his airport. Now he wants it removed.
And since when does an adjacent landowner have the right to designate his neighbor's land as "his" overrun? If the loss of that overrun threatens the existence of the airport, the owner would have been wise to buy it himself.
I am frankly puzzled by why the airport owners caused this ruckus as their actions have now threatened their own operation. Better to have coexisted with their neighbors and lived in peace. Maybe it's time to try that approach.
While I’d agree that maybe peaceful coexistence might have been the best way for both parties to go, the fact that the new neighbor built a retail store and bunkhouse/residence BEFORE even applying for the appropriate building use permits should tell you something about his motives. Those decisions to deliberately circumvent the public approval process would get you prosecuted for fraud where I come from. And setting up a shooting range, adjacent to and facing an active runway? Are you kidding me?
That being said, with some cooperation these two operation certainly could work together. Schellville certainly is located in marshland, so the idea that this fishing pond could attract more birds is a red herring (pun intended). If both parties were concerned about fishermen wandering across the airport that fence could easily be relocated to a less provocative position.
A little common sense would go a long way for everyone here. Let’s just hope the backdoor actions of the pond owner haven’t precluded that.