Sacramento County (California) Sued over Expansion of Mather Airport

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

The Folsom City Council and the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to sue Sacramento County over its planned expansion of cargo operations at Mather Airport, a former U.S. Air Force base. The council held a special meeting, closed to the public, solely to discuss the proposed litigation. Unidentified officials said the council was unanimous in its support for the lawsuit.

El Dorado County supervisors also voted in closed session to sue the county. It is not clear whether the City of Folsom and El Dorado County will jointly or individually sue Sacramento County.

Residents and elected officials in Folsom and El Dorado County have long opposed the Mather Airport expansion because of concerns about overhead flight noise from cargo planes. “If the master plan proceeds as planned and Mather is converted to a significant cargo hub, the impacts on the residents of Folsom will be significant into perpetuity, and that is unacceptable,” Folsom Mayor Kerri Howell said in a written statement.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors last month voted for a master plan calling for $107 million in improvements to the airport. Airport officials say the improvements are needed to the bring the airport up to current standards.

Supervisors voted 3-1 in favor of the plan and related environmental documents. The sole opponent was Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, who represents Folsom. Supervisor Susan Peters abstained because she owns property next to the airport.

Mayor Howell’s statement, as well as a previous letter from the city attorney’s Office, indicate that the city will challenge the county under the California Environmental Quality Act. The city has accused the county of not making necessary legal findings before approving environmental documents for the Mather expansion.

Sacramento County spokesman Chris Andis said it is against county policy to speak about pending lawsuits. The lawsuit will mark the second time Folsom has sued the county over Mather Airport's operations. Folsom challenged planned expansion in 2007.

Source: Sacramento Bee on-line news