December 23, 1999
Pardee Homes, one of San Diego's leading homebuild-ers with 75 years in the homebuilding business, has been joined by thousands of South Bay residents and businesses in opposition to the proposed expansion of Brown Field. The united opposition is based on a thorough review of the Brown Field Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which reveals the project poses an unmitigated threat to the quality of life now being experienced in south San Diego. Pardee's extensive review of the EIR has concluded that noise, traffic and safety impacts from the project are neither adequately evaluated nor mitigated in the EIR.
One of the major problems is the entire EIR is based on estimated demand, rather than Brown Field's actual capacity a fatal flaw that skews the EIR's conclusions. This means that cargo flights could increase beyond the projected demand with no system in place to monitor increases in impacts to the environment. This fact is exacerbated by unsubstantiated economic claims by project proponents that have left City decision makers with a false impression of the project's costs and benefits.
Carlene Baskevitch, Pro-ject Manager for Pardee Homes, cited the following four primary reasons for opposition to the project:
1. The significant intrusion of the 65 CNEL contour into the Ocean View Hills Community beyond Dennery Canyon and the even more significant impact of Single Event Noise on the commun-ity's residents. It is clear that the current EIR misleads the reader as to sound impacts by failing to base calculations upon its own stated west arrival and west departure take off and landing pattern.
2. The EIR's projected airport demand is a total fabrication, with no cap on future growth of cargo flights, and is significantly less than half of the airport's actual stated capacity.
3. The airport's significant community safety impacts have been glossed over by the project's proponents. With the west-west operations noted above, all operations will occur over Otay Mesa, as well as the Cities of Imperial Beach, National City and Chula Vista.
4. The project EIR improperly addresses significant air quality, traffic and cumulative impacts to the region. Thus avoiding an otherwise required full Federal EIS.
In 1987, The City of San Diego adopted a Resolution giving residential development priority in Otay Mesa, and constraining all future airport development at Brown Field by establishing boundaries for noise contours. This policy was adopted in response to potential conflicts due to the City's dual role as the airport operator and as the land use authority for the entire Otay Mesa Community.
City support of the current expansion project violates this 1987 policy in that the project is incompatible with approved land uses. Subsequent to limiting the expansion of Brown Field, the City of San Diego approved 1000's of residential dwelling units, schools, parks and churches for the growth of South County and to provide much needed planned communities to satisfy the shortage of affordable housing in San Diego. Pardee believes the current Brown Field proposal is incompatible with the City's prior approvals.
The expansion of Brown Field would adversely impact the quality of life in residential neighborhoods needed to accommodate the estimated one million new residents who will make San Diego County their home over the next 20 years. The immediate area affected by Brown Field is that contained in the Otay mesa Community Plan which contains 11,574 residential dwelling units, 8 public schools, 1 parochial school, 8 neighborhood parks, and 1 Community Park, with an estimated population of approximately 35,000.
Other areas impacted beyond the 805 freeway are the cities of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and National City will be impacted every time a plane takes off or lands. The directly impacted population here is easily over 100,000.
By expanding Brown Field to accommodate larger aircraft, the City Council could be approving an airport more dangerous than Lindbergh Field considered one of the most dangerous in the country. Mountains in the north and east, tailwinds from the west, Mexican airspace to the south, and head-to-head take off and landings are all constraints that make the arrival and departure of larger aircraft a dangerous threat to the safety of surrounding communities.