City's General Plan Update Violates State Aeronautics Act
The State Aeronautics Act is not commonly the subject of land use lawsuits, but it was for the Sixth District Court of Appeal in the case of Watsonville Pilots Association v. City of Watsonville. The court upheld a challenge to the City of Watsonville 2030 General Plan update, finding that the plan did not reflect statutorily required elements and standards for airport safety. The related EIR fared little better as it failed to adequately analyze airport compatibility issues and a reduced development alternative; however, the court upheld the EIR water supply analysis based on the factors in Vineyard Area Citizens v. City of Rancho Cordova.
This decision provides a useful summary of the Airport Land Use Commission statute and processes. It is particularly useful guidance for integrating long-term land use planning and airport planning through the general plan process and related CEQA review. The decision also provides an example of a successful water supply analysis that satisfies the California Supreme Court's direction in the Vineyard case.
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